Smells are powerful mental cues. They can remind you of things from decades ago. I had one of those scent triggered memories today.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I spent about half my childhood in downtown San Francisco visiting my mom at her "Upper Tenderloin" or "Lower Nob Hill" (depending on your point of view) apartments. My sister and I would ride the bus from our suburban home in the East Bay to the South of Market area A/C transit station on Friday nights or Saturday mornings. From there, we'd walk the ten or so blocks up the hill to mom's Leavenworth or Bush Street apartments.
Along the way, there were lots of activities and various smells. Some good, some not so good. Fresh newspapers being delivered. Flower stands on the sidewalk. Along with the fresh flower stands, good food aromas coming from coffee shops, restaurants and hotels were my favorites. This was way back in the early 70s.
Fast forward to the present. I've worked in downtown St. Louis for about 15 years. Good smells haven't really been part of the experience. Dust and cold concrete mostly. Today, that changed. I exited the parking garage onto Olive near 7th street and for the first time, I noticed the smell of breakfast cooking. It immediately took me back to those early morning walks in downtown SF.
It may not seem like much, but the smell of breakfast cooking sure beats the alternative of cold concrete and musty air that used to greet morning visitors to our downtown.