Scents and memories

Today a strange thing has been happening to me. Little bursts of memories have been jumping into my consciousness, things I haven’t thought about in years suddenly pop into my mind. With them come the smells of that moment.

There used to be a health food store on 18th street, just off Rittenhouse Square. When we would come to visit my grandparents in the summer, my mom would take us there, to buy vitamins or the occasional carob candy (blech). I see it from the perspective my child self, wooden floors and shelves that stretch above my head. It was always lit with sunbeams, the overhead lights off to create the sensation of coolness in the summer heat. The earthy pungent-ness of vitamins filled the small room. Coolers lined the back wall, filled with carrot juice, rice and soy drinks.

I’ve lived in Philly for three years, and this store has been gone my entire tenure in this city. It wasn’t here the semester I was here for school five years ago. It never even occurred to me to miss it, it’s been gone so long. But now, having had this dip into my memory, I feel equal parts longing and sadness for this missing store.
Where did it go?
When did it close?
Why am I remembering it now?

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