Friday, April 15, 2011

From an early bird

I'm pretty sure that if I didn't drink coffee, I'd sleep later in the mornings; not because of the effect of caffeine, but because I love my first cup of coffee so much that if I wake up and it's after three or four o'clock, it's all I can think about.  
Some days, that first cup of coffee is the highlight of my day.  Yes, I do lead a pathetically dull life.  
So this morning, I let myself get out of bed at three, and now I sit at the computer feeling sleepy in spite of the three cups of coffee I just polished off.  The only thing that prevents me from going back to bed is that I know I'd be crawling out every fifteen minutes to go to the bathroom, because that coffee has to go somewhere.  Coffee in, coffee out.  We all know the drill.  
So here we go with the memories.  
When I was a kid, my mother was possibly the world's most enthusiastic Stanley Home Products customer.  All the household cleansers she used were Stanley products; our hairbrushes were from Stanley, as was our bubble bath and shampoo.  My mother sang the praises of Stanley Degreaser and Germ-trol to anyone who would listen.  
Mother went to a lot of Stanley parties, and of course, where Mother went, I went.  Babysitter?  I never even heard that word until I was old enough to be the babysitter.  
Actually, I enjoyed Stanley parties.  
The Stanley hostess would start things off by passing a tray of little gifts around:  pencils and small tablets with the Stanley name on them; little square sponges that my mom would use to remove makeup; and various other items that really weren't worth much, but even back then, "free" meant a lot to me.  
After the freebies were passed around, the hostess would go over the history of Stanley Home products, telling how a couple of brothers, I believe it was, started the business in a barn.  Back then, we went to so many Stanley parties, I knew the story by heart.  
Next there would be games, which I loved.  The Stanley lady usually let me play along, and once in awhile I'd win something.  I'm sure the prizes were not geared to children, but it didn't matter.  I loved to win!  We usually played some sort of word games that didn't require us to leave our chairs and move around.  
After the games, the Stanley lady would demonstrate several products.  My favorite was some stuff in a bottle that you rubbed on yourself... arms, legs, neck... wherever... and rubbed until it was almost dry, at which time little hunks of rolled-up dirt started appearing; my knees could always be counted on to contribute plenty of dirt.  Gross, eh?  Oh, I did love that demonstration because, after all, my knees were the star of the show!  
After the demonstrations, Stanley catalogs were passed around and ladies made out their orders.  There was always a little bit of begging and arm-twisting as the lady holding the party, along with the Stanley lady, tried to talk others into giving a party (you got "credits" if somebody booked a party from you).  My mother had lamps and other items from the Stanley parties she threw.  
Then came the best part of all:  refreshments.  There would be coffee and tea and cake and cookies; it was a happy time indeed.  After that, the ladies would chat for an hour or so, and we'd finally head home, my mother looking forward to the day when she'd receive whatever goodies she had ordered.  

Stanley and Fuller Brush went together at some point; their products can still be purchased online.    


  1. I remember having Stanley hair brushes and also a big old lent brush from the Fuller brush people. I think they went door to door periodically. I didn't realize they were still in business or that they had merged. Three o'Clock is way to early to be up. I sleep till 6 most mornings and today I slept in till 7. I hope you get a nap in later on. Have a great Friday!

  2. My mother used those products too but I don't remember going to the parties. With two older sisters to babysit Mom got an evening out by herself. :o)

  3. Oh the memories this conjured up. I went to a handful of Stanley parties when I was younger too. And the Fuller Brush guy always came to our house with his case full of goodies. I didn't know they were still around.

  4. That sounds like a cool demo! I don't remember anything like that. I look forward to getting up for my coffee too, especially now that I have the best chocolate sauce in the world for my mochas. :)

  5. Great memories! I remember we use to sell Stanley products through our school. It was an annual fund raiser! They had great products!

  6. My Mom and Dad used to joke that the Fuller Brush man was really my father. But now that I'm getting older I look so much like my Dad that I'm sure of the truth. Mom used to hold Tupperware parties now and then. But I always had to stay in my room for those. I wouldn't have been a good demonstrator for any of those things, unfortunately.

  7. Lindie6:47 PM

    I used to sell Tupperware and Avon. But my mom bought the Stanley degreaser and she had a lovely broom which she took really good care of, probably from 30 or 40 years ago. I have it now!


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