Altamont, Jan. 9, 2014

A group of us were sitting at the end of the pool enjoying the sunny weather and having a refreshing cool drink. Nancy’s husband came through the gate and everyone remarked that he looked like he was dressed for winter. Charlie had on a long sleeved shirt and long pants. That was unusual for him because normally he wore shorts and short sleeves on nice days.

We quickly found out that the cover up was hiding some bug bites he had gotten the night before when we were all having dinner at a restaurant on the waterfront. Most of us showed that we too had been bitten but, Charlie won the award or would have if this had been a contest, with over 40 bites on his legs alone.

Vacationing in the southern tip of Florida has many advantages during the winter, sunny days, soft smooth sandy beaches and warm water are just a few that come to mind. However, when you are near a canal, small lake or the everglades you really need to have some type of protective coating to help with the king sized mosquitoes that also call this area home.

The offenders who invaded our dinner were not the mosquitoes as we had expected. They turned out to be a very small insect that we call no see- ems. They are so small that you do not feel them when they light on you and they’re so quiet that we do not know they are around. Basically, we know that they have been there when we begin to scratch and itch from their bites.

One of the friends said that Charlie should have used some Skin So Soft an insect repellent made by Avon.  It was originally made as a skin softener but people started to use it also to repel bugs. They now make a special blend of their skin softener mixed with Off, an insect repellent. We might all have been better off if we had applied this product before we went to dinner, however, it was too late, and we had gotten attacked by the no see-ems.

That changed the conversation from bug bites to Avon products.  Avon was founded in

1886 and has its headquarters in New York City.  Among the products they sell are: cosmetics; perfume; clothing; and toys. Although they seem like they are a hometown company, they have 39,100 employees in over 140 countries across the world.

Their Ding Dong Avon Calling advertising campaign, which ran from the mid-1950s to 1967, has been called one of the most deeply ingrained brand identities of the past century. 

I remember Esther Bihunick stopping by with a new catalog when they changed their product line each season. She would never try to pressure anyone into buying the products, but she would always make sure you knew she was there to serve you if needed.

Avon was started by David H. McConnell in lower Manhattan, New York City. He changed the company name when his business partner, who was living in California, suggested that he call the business the California Perfume Company, because of the abundance of flowers in California.

In 1894, Alexander D. Henderson, vice-president and treasurer, joined the company and helped to shape its policies and assist in its growth. In 1916, the California Perfume Company was incorporated in the state of New York. McConnell, Henderson, and William Scheele were listed as company officials. AVON is owned by Avon Products, Inc. and sells products in over 140 countries. Brazil is the company’s largest market, passing the United States in 2010. Avon uses both door-to-door sales people ladies primarily, and a growing number of men and brochures to advertise its products.

In addition to its corporate pursuits, the Avon Corporation is involved in philanthropic causes. The Avon Foundation for Women is the largest corporate philanthropy dedicated to women’s causes globally. 

In 1955 Avon was committed to helping women achieve their highest potential and founded the Avon Foundation for Women with its first grant, a $400 scholarship.

After that, Avon began to increase its philanthropy with a new emphasis on breast cancer. The Avon Foundation still awards scholarships for Avon sales representatives and their families, as well as for the children of Avon associates. Today, Avon’s philanthropy focuses its funding on breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

Cancer Crusade.

They have increased their efforts to reduce domestic violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Through 2012, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has donated more than $910 million in more than 50 countries.

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is a series of eight, weekend-long walk events held each year in major cities across the U.S. Since 2003, more than 180,000 Walk participants and volunteers have raised $472 million to accelerate breast cancer research and help women and men get screening, support, and treatment. 

 Door to door — that is a sales technique in which a salesperson walks from the door of one house to the door of another trying to sell a product or service to the general public.

Sometimes this might be considered cold calling because the sales representative attempts to sell the product or service without any prior contact.

Historically, products sold door-to-door are of the same variety that can be purchased at large discount stores. As of 2008 the business model of many companies that participate in this type of direct marketing has changed with the growth of the technology.

Door to Door was also a 2002 TV movie about Bill Porter, a door-to-door salesman with cerebral palsy. The film was produced for the TNT cable network and was nominated for twelve Emmy Awards, winning six.

 Porter had been told for many years that he was not employable, but he threw all of his effort into working as a salesman for Watkins. Despite the pain of his medical condition, he would walk eight to ten miles a day to meet his customers. Porter has been able to support himself, and continued to work as a salesman at the age of 69 at the time of the film’s showing.

Fuller Brush history

The plastic bottle and toothbrush manufacturing operation was in Philmont, New York.

According to Fuller’s memoirs, Fuller Brush distributed the bristlecomb, a hairbrush introduced by the Mohawk Company in 1928. In 1942, Fuller Brush bought out the Mohawk Brush Company and subsequently all the hairbrushes and industrial floor brushes were manufactured at the Mohawk Plant in Albany, New York. In 1966, Fuller Brush hired 17,500 women, motivated by the lack of qualified men and the example set by Avon Products.

Sara Lee Corporation acquired Fuller Brush in 1968.

Examples of former employees include evangelist Billy Graham, who became a Fuller Brush salesman during the summer after high school, and outsold every other salesman in North Carolina. More recently, Paul Reuben’s of Pee-wee Herman fame, worked as a Fuller Brush salesman while attending California Institute of the Arts.

We started talking about bug bites, Avon Products and Fuller Brush. I was going to talk about beer. Maybe we can talk about beer next week. What is your favorite brew?

Transition night

Eighth graders at the Farnsworth Middle School are reminded that their transition night to ninth grade will be held at the high school on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.


The OES Humzingers will hold their Winter Get Together on Monday, Jan. 20.

The luncheon will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Route Seven Diner in Latham. Reservations should be made with Audrey Branion at 449-2667 or with June Pelham at393-1486 by Jan. 11.  

Food pantry 

The Altamont Food Pantry, housed at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Parish Center always has needs such as tuna fish, peanut butter, canned fruit, jelly and jams, boxed cake mixes and frosting mixes.  

Donations can be left in the Gathering Space at the church. All donations are greatly appreciated.


Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Heather McDonough and Nadene Quickenton on Jan. 10;

— Donald Haviland, Nellie Hughes, Paul Ingle and Jennifer Keogh on Jan. 11;

— Doris Derby, Steven Enides, Gary Ingle and Jen Staub on Jan. 12;

— Darla Jean Mohr on Jan. 13;

— Pete Cure on January 14; and

—  Carol Kelly and Ann Richards on Jan. 16.