The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
Larry Hays and Eugene Law
Families come in many forms and this family consists of Larry Hays and Eugene Law. This
coming August 10th will be our 45th anniversary and were married in New York Dec. 14, 2013.
Speaking of families both of us feel so much a part of the Longevity family. I would like to pen a
few words to say how we became a part of this incredible family of service providers who do
such incredible work in massage, focusing on body, mind, and spirit.
I was born in Knoxville, and Gene is from Maryville. Our lives took quite a while to meet for
sure. After finishing high school I received my B.A. in Education from Carson-Newman
University and Gene went on to serve in the army as a chaplain’s assistant and then on the New
York to his degree from New York School of Interior Design.
I taught school for a while in Lenoir City, and then on to Louisville, KY where I received my M.A.
in Religious Education. After that I was on the staff of First Baptist Church Clemson, South
Carolina in the area of Music and Education. This was indeed another example of family. Gene
became a part of his family business at Law’s Furniture in Maryville, Tennessee.
As a staff member in Clemson I took a group of our youth to Glorieta Conference Center in
Glorieta, New Mexico. This was my first time to New Mexico and thought I had arrived to a
place that took my breath away. It felt as if I belonged there. In Gene’s past he was a scout and
had come to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. This was his first meeting with
beloved New Mexico.
Realizing that I could not continue serving in the church in Clemson as a gay man I left and
became an administrator for a school for Emotionally Disturbed Adolescents in Greenville,
South Carolina. This school was definitely a sense of family to the students, their parents, to
myself and to our staff. These were very bright students who could not adjust to the regular
schoolroom situation in Greenville, South Carolina. We had a 98% return from our students
graduating from high school after working with them for a semester in our program. This was
possible with excellent teacher counselors and tremendous social workers and that sense of
“family” and ‘caring”.
Now, to my present family. I had come home from South Carolina for my mother’s birthday
in August of 1972 where a mutual friend, who had attempted for several years to introduce
Gene and I, pulled up in front of my Mother’s house and said “I have come to take to you to
meet Gene Law, so get in the car”. I had put this off for ages! (As did Gene) But I was caught.
We ended up meeting in Gatlinburg at Gene’s home and it was a great time being there with
him. Immediately I felt this is someone with heart, caring and sincere honesty. It was love at first
sight for sure. I returned to South Carolina to finish my contract with the school system and
moved in with Gene in August 1973. We have been so much a part of each other for these
forty-five years. What a blessing this relationship has been and represents all that a loving, and
caring family could be. Gene continued his work in Maryville, and I worked for two years in the
1776 Shop in the Village in Gatlinburg dressed in a Colonial Williamsburg outfit every day.
Selling was easy but the costume? It was a lot of work to get it all together! Gene and I talked
many times of just visiting Santa Fe, New Mexico to see how we felt, and we visited several
times. In 1975 we found a tiny adobe house on Palace Avenue to rent. We sold our house in
Gatlinburg and we never went back. We lived there for thirty-eight years. We both started
Charles & David Interiors (Charles being Gene’s first name and David being my middle name).
The design studio was a tremendous success and we felt right at home. Eventually, I decided
to do other things such as real estate but I really wanted to get another degree in Counseling.
So, in 1992 at the age of 50 I received my M.A. in Counseling from Southwestern College. I
was in private practice for ten years with those with AIDS, and caregivers such as family
members, nurses and those who worked in this endeavor. This changed my life in so many
ways serves as another great example of family that has impacted my journey.
Santa Fe had several excellent massage schools and several acupuncture
schools and it was there that we received massage on a regular basis. We had many of
the best to choose from and helped us tremendously.
As you can imagine, being in one place half of your lives we did build another
sense of community and family. We had a difficult time in deciding to leave Santa Fe.
My mom was ill and we both felt we needed to be back in Knoxville to her our family
take care of our mother, so in March of 2011 we moved back to the Knoxville area. We
were still searching for that sense of “family” and also seeking massage therapists. We
are fortunate to have an incredible family origin here, as well as other friends that we
continue to meet who have been so incredibly supportive.
Until this point, we still had not found massage therapists, but then two special
friends mentioned that we should try Longevity Massage Specialists, and they gave
them rave reviews. Well, the rest is history. We found a group of incredible massage
therapists who truly care about their clients, and they have two locations; Northshore
and Bearden- and let me tell you, when you walk in you are greeted by wonderful
people at the front desk, and an atmosphere that just wraps its arms around you in a
sense of “comfort”. After being escorted to the relaxation room, you wait in the most
comfortable chairs for your therapist while enjoying small cookies an blocks of chocolate
and mixed nuts. ( Careful! You might eat too many!) Once your massage is finished, you
can choose to experience their private steam showers, where they provide you with
shampoo, conditioners, and luscious towels. You literally have just experienced being in
the most fantastic massage business in Knoxville.
Mary and Travis Jackson are the owners, and the visionaries, who have created
this incredible place for you to relax, rejuvenate, and, and experience a sense of family
as well as people who truly care. Gene and I have truly found another example of family
and people who love what they are doing. We are truly blessed.