What a Summer of Sales Smells Like

I came across these random journal entries from the summer I lived in Pennsylvania doing door-to-door sales. I absolutely loved driving down the hill into Hershey, PA. (Plus, there was a cute boy that lived just past that city that I was dating so driving through meant good things.) Enjoy, right…


We rolled down the windows and smelled Tennessee. It smelled like country music.

“Welcome to Nashville,” I told Deb.

The highway dipped down, hiding between the dense, green forest. I took a deep breath. It was cool and fresh. This state smelled green.


My first evening of selling in Chambersburg and I wandered into a dirty cul-de-sac. Dirty faces on dirty children, with dirty hair, sat on the dirty porch of their dirty trailer. Their mom came out to talk to me. She was dirty. Didn’t trailers come with showers, I thought? I showed her My Fun with Words. She wanted it. She had no money. Shoot, I forgot that part of the sales speech. I stepped off the porch, stood on the dirt and wondered how I could feel so dull while the sunset colored the sky. The wind picked up, cooling the air, and brought the smell of Chambersburg rushing into my face. It was awful.

“Mama, it smells like poopoo,” the dirty little girl said.

The smell of this city was dirty.


Every time I drove into Harrisburg, I had to cross the Susquehanna River. It wasn’t like the so-called rivers from back home. The waters under this bridge had power rushing through it. It scared me. It was huge. I imagined it could flood up to the eight lane bridge and gulp up all the cars driving across. I rolled down the windows and smelled the water: cool and moving. The smell of Pennsylvania’s capitol city was blue.


Hershey was down the hill. The traffic coasted down and we all knew it was going to smell like peanut butter when we saw the Reeses’ factory on the left. Even with the windows closed, you couldn’t escape the tasty scent. When the road wound around and into the city, it started to smell more like chocolate. The lamp posts along the streets were topped with Hershey Kisses. I rolled down my window and sucked in the candy smell. Hershey, PA smelled like chocolate.

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