A Whiff From A Refrigerator Sent Me Back to a Delicious Part of Childhood

Here is an intersting experience I had. I was in the local health food store and opened a refrigerator door to get some cheese. All of a sudden I was aware of the most wonderful whiff of an odor-it seemed almost magical. It was out of the blue, creating a universe of feeling for me that hadn’t existed a minute ago. I had no idea where it was coming from. I didn’t know if it was from one of the cheeses, or all of them combined. All I knew is that I had to keep the door open and keep smelling. I just hoped the manager wouldn’t come over and ask me to clost the door. I knew it was wrong to waste the cold temperature, but I had to indulge in the aroma.

What was that magical whiff? It took me back immediately to a particular candy and luncheon place in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, Ma. I was about 8-10 years of age. That aroma lingered in St. Claire’s Restaurant. I know it. But I don’t know what created the aroma in that restaurant. I didn’t eat cheese there. Usually I had a tunafish sandwich and coffee jello or coffee icecream for dessert.

I will say that St. Claire’s was one of the most magical places I was taken to as a child. It was better than the Far East Chinese restaurant or the luncheonette at Reid’s department store. It was a bit of heaven of earth. Why? Well, for one thing it always had this wonderful, welcoming aroma that, now that I think about it, may have been the combination of delicious fresh chocolates and other treats such as gourmet lollipops in the shapes of animals and trains in the front of the restaurant. Big lollipops that lasted a long time, and sugar candies, in different colors, white, pink, yellow, that became smooth and succulent in your mouth as the granules dissolved. Oh, it was heaven.

The aroma was always there as soon as we walked in. All we had to do was open the big old mahagony door. I can’t believe I’m having such an enchanted moment, standing with a refrigerator door open in a health food store! I’ve been drawn back into a feeling of ecstasy, yet neither now nor then do I know exactly what the smell is coming from.

So like the true wanderer, I must remain on my quest. If I can’t figure out the aroma, at least I can come back to the health food store next week and open up the door once more!

Who would have thought I would discover a time machine in a health food refrigerator?