they say that smell is the sense most associated with memory

Photo: The Daily Mail

Photo: The Daily Mail

they say that sense is the smell most associated with memory
a haibun

My first day of the first year of school, way back in 1948, calls to mind the sawdust scent of freshly sharpened #2 pencils, that pungent/musty smell of cheap, tan-colored paper with pale green lines spaced so that when we wee ones wrote we could differentiate between upper and lower case letters.

We arrived sparkling clean, a cloud of Ivory soap, or, perhaps, Camay, surrounding us—hair in tight pigtails, parted down the middle with bows around the rubber-bands. I still remember that sweet fragrance of bars of blue starch melted in warm water the day before we were to return. It’s aroma lingered on stiff white fabric of the blouses of my ugly school uniform. By the end of the day, the starch had melted, the snowy fabric bore reminders of rough-housing recesses and bows hung limply, untied.

“oh, Mommy, don’t go
the sun says it’s still too warm
for me to grow up

Today, I can’t smell peanut butter, or the sulfuric scents of hard-boiled eggs that my mom packed into the metal lunch box without remembering. Over time, it acquired its own unique nose, blending assorted meals with a bit of rust. The squat thermos reeked of sour milk.


This morning was the first day of kindergarten here in Washoe County. We encountered a small child, sandwiched between Mommy and Daddy, clinging to them…a portrait of fear, a resurgence of memory.

“ ‘morning little one”
it’s too soon, you know, for school
summer still beckons.

Linked to dVerse Poetics where we are writing about the first day of school. Please join us.