Down memory lane with Stanley
My grandma, Fern Wyatt, was a Stanley Home Products dealer who served at least Fall River and Custer counties in South Dakota. The products were so good I still try to find them, one in particular — Degreaser. It worked wonders on greasy farm clothes and it even had a pleasant, not floral, aroma. I have tried to find a dealer, have attempted to order it online, but I’ve not had any luck. Perhaps the company is defunct.
Gram did a fair amount of traveling, back when gas was 25 cents per gallon in the 1960s and early 70s. Back then she would book a party with a hostess, travel to her home to show the products and take orders. Gram remitted the orders and received the products, which she sorted and bagged. Then she took them to the home of the hostess who would in turn distribute the products.
I don’t know how much money she made but it seemed to keep her going. An attraction for me when I was a youngster was to check out the items she squirreled away in the cubbyhole shelves on the back porch, part of the interior of the house. She always had the sharpest little pencils, keys chains and other little gizmos that were given free at the demonstration parties and of course order blanks and business necessities. Although the inventory didn’t change much, it was fun to examine.
While still in grade school the company came out with a large covered roaster in Harvest Gold — the color alone dates it. I was determined to have one. Gram said if I had a party I could earn it. She suggested a book-only party. I took her up on it. Armed with several Stanley Home Products catalogs I asked neighbors to read them and I’d come back to pick up their orders. The products were well known and more or less sold themselves. I just made it easy to order. Whatever the threshold was, I surpassed it and earned the roaster. Some 50-plus years later I still use it and that speaks to the quality.
Another thing Stanley sold was an all-wool dust mop. I remember that because I sat on the mop head while my older brother pushed the mop around the wood floors. It was a little game to make the work fun.
Five years ago in a small antique shop I found aluminum Stanley coasters and I purchased the set of eight. All but one has ducks flying over cattails embossed within. The last one has the company logo, a large home with smoke coming out of the chimney with the word “STANHOME” beneath the house. Below them both are the words “A Stanley Home Product.”
I’d be curious to know if the company is still in business and what sort of hostess gifts they provide these days. If anyone knows how I can find Degreaser, please let me know at this address firstname.lastname@example.org. ❖
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