The Scent Of My Past

I know it has been awhile posting new stories, and believe me, I have many more to share. But I am going to go back and visit the past once again. This time, I am going to share with you my experience this past summer visiting the homes where I grew up.

Starting from the projects on the Westside of Manhattan in Chelsea, St. Michael’s Orphanage Home on Staten Island, what’s left of it, and the very Foster Home where I lived for eight years that haunt me the most…even to this very day. 

The reason why I visited these places was because I wanted, no, I needed to go back in time and see if I can smell the past. I know that sounds kind of weird, so let me explain further.

Did you ever experience a surprised aroma, scent or a particular smell that brought you back to when you were a little boy or girl, and actually remember that day like it was yesterday?

For instance. On any sunny, hot and humid summer day, the smell of weeds in the woods baked by the sun all day where I live, brings back memories when I was living in the orphanage as a little boy.  

St. Michael’s Home was surrounded by many weeds, ponds, hills, grass and trees…lots of trees. The scent will send me back in time, and I find myself standing on top of a hill at St. Michael’s known as Donkey Hill. 

I close my eye’s and can actually see and hear the other kids roll down the hill while screaming and laughing as they work their way back up the hill just to do it again. I remember doing that countless times myself with my brothers.

Just thinking about it now has brought a pleasant smile to my face. Now, that you get the idea what I am talking about, I am going to share with you a moment I had standing on a porch that I stood and sat many times growing up.

A porch that holds good memories but unfortunately, the bad memories over shadows the good ones. This porch is attached to a house where I was supposed to feel safe, and enjoy a true family life that I never experience in my ever so young life as a little boy living in New York City…..the Foster Home.

After so many years gone by, and the family I once knew were long gone, I needed to visit this house alone, for a reason. I wanted to ask the owners now living there, permission to let me take photos of their kitchen.

I know that sound like a very strange request, I mean really. How would you react if someone rang your doorbell and said ” Hello, I was tormented growing up in this house and I would like to take pictures of your kitchen?”.

I don’t know about you, but I would have closed the door, hoping you got the hint and just leave, or pick up the phone and dial 911. But I was determine to get inside that house one way or another. Even if it meant risking getting locked up for trespassing.

I pulled up and my car parked across the street from where this house sits, going over what I was going to say. I almost backed out. I kept making excuses not to go through with this. But there was only one reason why I should…why I had to.

So I took a deep breath, open the door, got out of the car, walked over to the gate and opened it like I’ve done so many times before as a young boy and teenager. With my hands trembling, and sweat dripping off my face from more being more nervous than hot, I finally got the courage to ring the doorbell.

2 thoughts on “The Scent Of My Past

  1. Thank you for sharing your past with me. It’s not easy to do what I do, but if my life helps others in any way. Mission Accomplished!!!! Private message me on facebook Michael Ashton Public Speaker, and send me your town and will into it further for any future speaking engagements.

  2. Katrina Jo Morida-Deruyter

    Reading your stories have brought back times in my life when I was younger, that I had “blocked out”. Because of you, I have opened up and am dealing with them. I know they will never go away, but just dealing with them by sharing these things with my husband and a best friend, help me understand why, how, and finally sharing my story. I am and will be on medications for stress, anxiety and depression for the rest of my life.Many Therapists and psychiatrists, to be exact, seven of them. Not counting counselors. They ALL told me that they were sorry, and didn’t have any answers to past, as it carried over to this day. When you have these types of people, telling you that they don’t know what to tell you, your out in the cold trying to self-help. It’s hard. Very hard. Mike, I hope one day, you will be able to travel to Pennsylvania, where I live, and speak. I would be honored.

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