When I was a child my mother had an old army medical box, a remnant from my father’s army days. In fact the box lasted longer in our home and lives than my father did.

The box was heavy, rectangular and painted white with the red cross logo in red.
My mother used it as a first aid box. We had another square biscuit tin that held all of our rolls of bandages and strips of elastoplast. That was more for every day occurrences like grazed knees and bumps and bruises.

If I close my eyes now I can still remember the scent of the medical box, reminiscent of metal mixed with Vicks salve and Germolene.

It seems there was always a round tin of Germolene. It was a horrid orange colour paste that stunk to high heaven but was effective in its awfulness.

The medical box held what seemed to a young child anyway, other treasures. Exotic in nature and name. During the time that medicines came in brown plastic bottles the box held such items as kaolin and morphine and the dreaded calamine lotion. This lotion was pink and the contents would separate and settle at the bottom leaving you with a bright pink clotted sludge.

The box invariably held an eye bath although I never recall seeing this put to use.

On the very rare occasion I was allowed to handle the medical box which was kept in a safe place it was usually only to pass it to my mother to open.

It had a stiff handle mechanism that you had to know the knack of to open. I did learn this manoeuvre when I grew older but always struggled with it.

I don’t know if my mother still has this box. I haven’t asked her. It was only thinking about the lack of medical equipment in our own home that brought it to mind again.

Are there any scents that remind you of your childhood, whether the usual ones or slightly stranger, like mine?


3 thoughts on “Scents that evoke memories.

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