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How smells, more than sights and sounds, are the Madeleine that unlocks the pleasures and torments of childhood

It’s curious how smells, more than sights and sounds, are the Madeleine that unlocks the pleasures and torments of childhood. The whiff of a jar of peanut butter recalls for me an American treat my Poland-raised mother occasionally prepared. The musty odor of a pile of prayer shawls brings back the yellowed tallis my father wrapped himself in whenever he went to shul, with its mystical evocation of the divine. The acrid aroma of a strong cigarette recalls a magnetic elfin refugee friend of my parents, and the hacking cough until he died. And the cloyingly sweet fragrance of a box of crayons brings back my early school days in the early 1950s in a yeshiva on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Source: The Smell of Crayons: Memories of an Upper West Side Childhood – Tablet Magazine

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Random sensory quotes

Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things

— Tom Petty