Reader’s Digest asked it’s readers to finish the following question
“The smell of my childhood is…”
Leather and ozone.
Growing up, I lived near a store named Haggerty’s Department Store in Rapid City. Haggerty’s was a local department store that carried clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, home goods, and musical instruments in the back. The also carried shoes.
I loved going into this store. The air smelled of fresh leather. It was stronger as you entered near the back entrance, but it was noticeable either way. It was a crisp scent, mixed with the air conditioned air. It was overwhelming initially, and eventually acclimated to a pleasing aroma that followed you out the door as you left.
I loved going into this store. The music department was a fun and interesting place to wander around in and touch. I couldn’t play the instruments, but they were shiny and wonderful. They smelled of leather.
I loved going into this store. The boy’s department eventually turned into the men’s department. We couldn’t afford the clothes in this store, but occasionally something special would come. I recall buying a belt in this store. It smelled of leather.
I loved going into this store. The ladies department was boring and uninviting to a young boy, but my grandma loved the clothes here. She couldn’t afford this store either, but she would happily spend time browsing through the racks. They smelled like leather.
I loved going into this store. My best friend Vic shopped here often. He would stop in and pick up random clothes as he needed them. I remember his buying a pair of shoes here once. They smelled of leather.
I loved going into this store. It was bright and friendly. It has a multitude of items to look at and it was inviting. I loved the fact that it had a front and back door. It always smelled of leather.
I have never smelled the same combination of leather and ozone since. The store is closed now. A grocery store now occupies the building that it was in. Unfortunately, it no longer smells of leather.