In Queensland we called these school ports (from portmanteau).
They were made from thick tough rigid cardboard and although they had a sort of "skin" on the outside to resist water, they were raw and exposed on the inside which meant smells were readily absorbed.
They always smelt of bananas, that was a given living in QLD, but the best smell for me was the smell of pencils, as pungent as fresh mown grass.
It smelt like I kept an inch of pencil shavings in there. Is it just me or have pencils lost their plangency? Were they actually toxic in my day and they have been homogenised for the new generations or are they using plantation timbers now that are like most things mass produced, bland?
Oil of Ulan (Olay in other countries) is not a particularly preferred smell but it does conjure childhood memories for me. Mostly it brings to mind grandmothers. I remember when I was little, hefting that cool heavy glass bottle in my hand. You had to be careful not to drop it when you were very small because heavy glass bottles get slippery when handling moisturisers. The texture like cool water on the skin, the smell unique, exotic but not simpering like I remember the Avon ones. It was so cosmetic but not chemical. It also reminds me of arched eyebrows like Sophia Loren's.
I miss the smell of real paper money. I understand the reasons for the conversion to the polymer (thingy-whatever) equivalent, but I really feel sorry for the younger generations that they never got to really experience money. Now days they barely even carry it. Nearly every transaction is done with a card.
Is that where we went wrong with societies so overburdened with debt? Did we get far too removed from our currency?
Once upon a time proper money was put into little buff envelopes and distributed on pay day. A set amount that had to last. It had to be budgeted.
It left a lingering gorgeous smell even after it was gone. I remember inhaling the scent like I do a fine red wine now. I wish I had kept a wad of it just to smell occasionally. The couple of notes that I have "for the children" aren't quite the same effect, their smell now a bit dulled and distant.
So it begs the question, what was the alluring smell of money? Certainly it was ink and paper, but was it also the intricate melding of thousands of hands?
It is argued that currency is one of the trademarks of civilisation. Our currency is very quickly turning into an intangible source. What will future historians make of a civilisation that abandoned it's currency. It's interesting to note that back in the day a lot of Sci-Fi drama used the term "credits" instead of "dollars" and how true that is coming to pass. It's not hard to imagine that one day we will have a global currency of "credits"....but I digress.
One can bring to mind favourite smells but as I grow older there are a lot of smells I miss, the ordinary everyday smells I took for granted and will never smell again....unless I come across an old kindy port in someones "attic" as I am convinced you can never get the banana smell out of them.
What are your smells you miss?