Mother always loved door to door salespeople. She invited them into our home and made them feel like honored guests. She bought vanilla from The Watkins man and could not have possibly used up all the bottles she purchased in a lifetime of baking.
I’m not sure if word got out among the home salespeople but the Avon lady began weekly visits. Mary would buy cologne, bath powder, lipstick and her favorite lavender sachet. This particular product was used by Mary to dump down the front of her bra after an afternoon of sunbathing. What may sound like a normal activity for someone actually was bizarre.
Her day began with oiling up her entire body with Baby Oil or Crisco or lard, whatever was available. Grabbing a blanket, out the door she went into our backyard to pretend she had no responsibilities. She made it very clear that Abby and I were not to bother “Bathing Beauty”.
When she was done with her fun in the sun, she came in and locked herself in the bathroom to bathe. When her beauty regimen was complete, she smelled like lavender and cooking oil. She was very shiny as her skin glistened with an oily sheen. She would then be off on her various errands believing she looked like a movie star.
She used up so much of the sachet that she could barely keep enough on hand. The powdery substance hovered in our home all summer. Although we didn’t have money for special treats, Mary always had her Avon.
Another lesson learned: smelling good and being good do not go hand in hand. Although Mary was tan, she was not a model of good skin care. Abby and I knew that Avon made her happy for the moment but everlasting happiness was elusive. Thus another lesson: Happiness does not come out of a bottle, whether Avon or Jim Beam.