The Scent of Lavender

Do many of you have a vivid memory return when you smell something? For me the scent of lavender triggers a memory of a fateful day 50 years ago.

Once when I was shopping with my mother a woman passed us quickly. She must have been doused with the this curious scent I was always trying to identify. I asked my mother what it was. She could identify it immediately. "Why that's the scent of lavender," she said.

The first time I smelled it I was in the 3rd grade. My teacher was Mrs. Fowler. On a November afternoon she had been out of the room for a few minutes. She had left us all working diligently on some math problems.

The room was quiet, which was a miracle for a rambunctious group of eight year-olds. When Mrs. Fowler returned she had been crying, she had her handkerchief in her hand and had been whipping her eyes. I remember being surprised and feeling of vulnerability swept over me. A teacher after all is someone seen as always in control of any situation in a classroom.

Someone asked her what was wrong. These words from her never were clearer to me, "President Kennedy is dead." She then asked us to clear our desks and say a silent prayer for the President. In that time of silence the room was filled with the beautiful scent of lavender.

Years later when I met Mrs. Fowler in a local store I asked her if she ever wore lavender perfume. "Of course Dougie," she said, "I wore that scent all the time when I was your teacher."


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