Thursday, October 13, 2011

Scent Story

When I was in the sixth grade in a public school here in Sheridan, Wyoming, the school board bought me a closed-circuit television reading system which was set up in my classroom. I hated it at first because my eyes kept getting tired, but my teacher kept encouraging me to read with it. After I got used to it, I realized that I could read print books just like any sighted kid.

At the end of the school year, I was allowed to take the machine home for the summer, and that was when I discovered Nancy Drew. For the next few years, I was hooked. In the following poem, the scent of a toilet tissue in a public restroom takes me back to those lazy summer days when I was either buying the latest Nancy Drew books or spending many happy hours at home reading them.


The smell of new books permeated the store’s interior.
As an excited girl of twelve or thirteen, ,
I made my way to the Nancy Drew section.
I was already in the convertible with Nancy and her friends,
as they headed for their next adventure.

Forty years later,
I sit in a toilet stall at the YMCA.
The tissue’s scent takes me back to that bookstore
when I couldn’t wait to get home and read.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome


  1. Scents can bring back memories like nothing else. However, most of the scented products like toilet tissue take my breath and I try to avoid them. I have MCS, multiple chemical sensitivity, and I can get sick from chemical fragrances.
    How wonderful it was for you to find that you could read like a sighted child. That opened up a world for you, I'm sure, Abbie.

  2. I think because of my visual impairment, my other senses are more heightened. Most people, unless they have chemical sensitivities, probably don't notice the smell of new books. When I was a kid, I not only noticed this smell; I loved it. I also liked to sniff the xerox handouts we received at school. I'm sure other kids thought I was strange.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome