I wanted to leave as soon as I had the chance, and I did about ten years ago. If you’ve been to Albany Oregon in the past, you know that it once smelled like an arm pit. When I lived there, a paper mill located right next to the interstate billowed stench from huge boilers that gave the town a distinct stink. Luckily, I lived out of the city limits so the stench was drowned out by the fresh country air.
It is a beautiful place, where I lived.
I used to escape to my grandfather’s old barn after school, running as fast as I could so the fresh fall air would blow my hair and make me look wild. He built that sturdy red barn himself and I used to marvel at it’s height as I stepped in the front entrance and escaped to the back, pretending that I was stepping into another world.
Every year since I left, we visit my old home. And the first thing that struck me was the wonderful Oregon smell. I think it’s all the rain that gives of a clean aroma and makes everything smell more, if that’s possible. It’s like cutting grass when it’s wet.
I could probably tell you where we are as we drive just by the smells! When we get to the country road where my old house was located, the field smells of dirt and whatever crop was planted that year. Sometimes it’s mint and other times it’s hay or sugar beets.
And with each smell, waves of memories flood my conciousness. Four wheeling in the fields in the winter, the slew in the summer; picking blackberries from the back of my uncle’s truck; riding down the pully swing over the crick; days swimming in the river, nights standing by a bonfire’s warmth and glow; every memory I have is brought back by the smells of that place.
I absolutely love it.
Maybe I’ll move back someday, but for now I’m happy that I get to spend our family vacations there and make new memories with my kids.
From the experience of moving away and going back, I know that scents are the most powerful memory trigger. That’s why I’m excited to announce that for the first time, Arm & Hammer Laundry has launched a collection with 3 scents inspired by nature in partnership with the National Park Foundation (which Arm & Hammer is proud to contribute). The newest A&H Laundry detergent line, Clean Scentsations, gives your clothes the pristine freshness of the great outdoors while Arm & Hammer Baking Soda help power out dirt and odors and at a fraction of the cost.
I know you have a favorite memory of traveling that can be recalled from a simple scent so make sure you enter the Sensational Memories Contest by submitting your story! The winner will receive a family vacation to Yosemite National Park with an expert-curated travel itinerary!
Scholastic is also partnering with Arm & Hammer to provide families with outdoor trip ideas on it’s Smart Family Travel platform. There, you’ll find the top 20 trips for families plus fun activities for kids and a free educational printable for each destination. Even if you can’t visit them, this is a great resource to learn more about our great country.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer. The opinions and text are all mine.