The one distinctive smell that I remember from Basic Training (way back in 1978) was that of bacon cooking in the morning as we did our PT.
Now, whenever I smell bacon, it snaps me right back to Lackland AFB ... the warm, humid mornings ... the TI screaming (our TI was a 6-foot-5 ex-Marine named "Sargeant Smoak"; we were known as "Smoak's Jokes") ... the fear of the unknown.
I hear Billy Joel's CD "The Stranger" and I'm 17 years old, driving my Pinto late at night on a weekend, after work, to visit my girlfriend (she's now my wife of over 28 years!). Why? Because I distinctly remember Starview 92 playing the entire album when it was released. They had a late night radio show where they'd play an entire album. Before they started, the DJ would instruct you to "start your tape recorder ... NOW!". I can remember rolling through the intersection of Route 30 and Roosevelt Avenue when Billy Joel's newest album started to play.
Remember the smell, when at the boardwalk in Ocean City, of newly-made t-shirts with an ironed-on design? The smell of those hot presses, making your t-shirt ... that's a fresh in my mind now as it was some 35 years ago.
Isn't it funny how a song, a smell, a sight, a sound can take you to a place and time in an instant. It's anchored.
Do you have any "anchors" such as that?
All The Best,