Someone in the world has proclaimed your memory is triggered by smells. Humans have some sort of smell retention that works like a long-term memory. I was never a sciency person, but I believe this to be very true. There is almost a smell that triggers a smile and makes you think of something or someone.
Laundry does that for me. When the washer is going and the fabric softener is being released, I go back to the laundry room in the dorm. Arguably, one of the dirtiest yet cleanest places on campus. Definitely the best place to sit and read or do homework; always quiet and no one would ever stick around too long. Too bad you need to pay $3 a load to do laundry on campus…and in Baltimore County, the laundry mats were kind of scary.
Another smell that I have an odd connection to is Marlboro Reds. I always think of my dad when I was growing up. And this is not a bad memory smell. I knew a guy who smoked them all day long and would apologize for the smell, but it was actually always really comforting to me. Dad has stopped smoking now, but I will always be comforted by that distinct cigarette smell.
Coconut shampoo is another smell that triggers me. My aunts shore house. RIP to that house, but she ALWAYS had coconut shampoo. Another very comforting smell to me.
I don’t know if this smell memory thing is real, or if I just took it and ran with it and link things from my life to certain smells; but I will say this: I do not remember bad smells.