And as I thought about the name of the soap, I suddenly recalled a trip made about 30 years ago. At the time, my husband was serving on our church’s board of deacons; in fact, he headed up that board. One of the deacons was a lovely woman whose family owned a cottage on Nantucket Island. I don’t know how the conversation came up, but since my husband was a public school teacher at the time—and not earning all that much money—and since I was working part time, staying home the other “part” with our pre-school son, we had little money and had not gone on a family vacation for awhile. This wonderful woman offered us the use of her Nantucket cottage, at no cost, if we would go there in October. It was rented out through the summer months, but come autumn, no one was renting it.
So on a long weekend, we drove up to Massachusetts, then boarded the ferry to Nantucket. What a charming and captivatingly beautiful little spot of land (at least it was then). I loved the quaint villages, and the wind-swept beauty of the place. The cottage was in Siasconset, on the far eastern edge of the island, facing bravely the Atlantic. If you look at a map, and trace east from Nantucket, there’s nothing but wide wide ocean for hundreds of miles. Our friend who loaned us her cottage told us few people try to winter over in Nantucket as the winter winds and storms bring on all sorts of dysfunctional behavior. Alcoholism rates climb, divorces occur, murder rates go up—at least that’s what she told us.
So perhaps we should have been prepared for bitter cold, but we weren’t. She did tell us the cottage was unheated—well, yes. It was a clapboard construction little house, quite sweet, but with bare wooden walls, no insulation. It was just what you would imagine for a SUMMER cottage. But here it was in October. At night, the temperatures dipped down below freezing. We fired up the wood stove in the kitchen, and huddled together to stay warm as best we could, but barely managed.
Cottage photo from: http://www.centralnewyorker.com/Outside/Nantucket/journey.htm
When we left Nantucket, after our weekend, we drove back to central Pennsylvania. Somewhere in Connecticut, we stopped in a motel for the night. In the middle of the night, our son developed croup. And, I mean the deep hoarse hacking coughing struggling for breath kind of croup. He had earlier in his young life had one siege of croup, once before, and had recovered without too much time passing. But this time, he was fighting for breath. We did the only thing we could think of—we went in the bathroom, turned the shower on to full blast hot water, and closed the door. We were minutes away from seeking out the nearest emergency room when he fell asleep and began to breathe a bit more easily.
Whew! So, every time I think of Nantucket—where we have never returned—I do think of a charming place with lovely natural beauty—but I also think of a little boy fighting for breath.
I must say, though—I still love the soap: it is my favorite.