Lavendula: Antiinflamitory, antiseptic, antifungal. Used to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia,
headache, nauseua and digestive issues. Used in alternative medicine to promote emotional
It all started with a massage.
But first the backstory.
When my mom was a kid, she had both sets of grandparents. Her maternal
grandfather, a grizzled German farmer and his second wife, Lovice, who was
reported to be a shrew. And both of her paternal grandparents, Elizabeth and
Thompson who were immigrants from Carlisle, England in the early 1900s. They
had come to the states, returned to Great Britain and later came back to stay
losing one of their three children during their second crossing. I don’t know much
about them, but I do know this. My own grandmother was given an opal ring with
several stones by her mother in law, Elizabeth whose brother was a jeweler. My
grandfather was a poor, hard working intellectual. Remember there was a
depression going on.
Isn’t is a shame that I didn’t know then that I would want to know so much more
now about their lives. I would have asked, interrogated, probed my grandmother
for information. Tales. Nowhere is it recorded why they came to the US twice or
what my great grandfather did for a living. How they ended up in Frankfort, NY
and raised a son who as a factory worker feeding six children took his pleasure
from Saturday morning tennis followed by trips to the library with one or more
offspring in tow.
I also found it a little odd that as an adult, I drove to the cemetery where I knew
they were buried, parked my car and somehow tramped directly to their grave
without any recall of ever having been there before.
I showed up for my appointment at Heavenly Hands Wholistic Massage, a small
one-woman operation, was sent back to disrobe, settle on the table and relax.
The room was spare. All white. Walls, ceiling, linens and a table with several
bottles of oil. The only touch of color was a fake rubber plant in a basket on the
floor in a corner. Marion, the therapist a short, pretty nurse practitioner turned
masseuse entered quietly.
“Do you have a preference for oil?” She asked.
“Something neutral.” Was my response.
She greased up her hands and quietly started on my face, scalp, neck proceeding
as they do, concentrating on the muscles that were giving her knowledgeable
fingers resistance. She was nearly through and began kneading my soles when I
broke the silence.
“Do you do foot reflexology?” I asked.
“A little.” She replied.
“I’m OK with knowing.”
Marion took a long exhale.
“I’m getting nothing from your feet. But who is this woman E.E. that was your
I thought for a second.
“My Grandmother’s name was Lena.”
“No! It is your Great Grandmother and her initials were E.E.”
Suddenly I remembered.
“Oh, that would be Elizabeth Eldridge.”
“She’s here, you know. She guides you.”
“Really!” I said. “I never knew her. She died when my mother was ten. Mom said
she always smelled of lavender.”
With that, the room became redolent of the herb. We both smelled it. Sweet and
“This is too weird. We’re done.” As she lifted her hands off my body. “You can
rest here for as long as you like.”
I laid there thinking. I laid there basking in the love from a woman I never knew
but will never forget. Elizabeth guides me. She died in 1930 and is still hanging
around to lead my way.
On my way out, I stopped at the desk.
“I’ll take a bottle of that lavender oil, please.”