One of the great things about being a grandparent is the opportunity to return to happy memories. I have so many treasured remembrances of reading to my children. "In the great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of..." will be forever linked to having one or more of my children snuggled in my lap. What is interesting, though, is the power of smells to evoke memories. As a teacher of anatomy and physiology I know that the olfactory neural pathway is different than our other senses. It has more connections to areas of the brain associated with memories. Yet I am still amazed when a smell transports me to a moment in my past.
I had one of those experiences while playing with my granddaughter. We opened up a canister of Play-doh. Oh my goodness! This was a smell from my own childhood as well as my children's younger days. We rolled and shaped and cut with cookie cutters and just had a grand time. I hope in years to come when she pops the lid of a Play-doh can my granddaughter associates this familiar smell with happy times and Gramma.