Chester Chatter: The era of door to door salesmen

By Ruthie Douglas
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Every couple of weeks or so, a familiar vehicle would pull up in our door yard. With a knock at the door, the Raleigh salesman would enter bearing a wide variety of items for sale, ranging from lotions to medicated salves, spices, kitchen gadgets and vitamins.

In those days, there were a number of such salespeople: the Fuller Brush man, Watkins, Knapp Shoes, Avon and Sunbeam Bread. Farm women looked forward to a break in their busy daily routines to see what these people had to offer for sale.

George, our bread man, delivered Sunbeam bread twice a week. He would always stop and chat and he had many fans on his route, thanks to his kind demeanor.

Of course there was also the Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs. where your order would be delivered right to your door, the precursor to Amazon and other online retailers today.

One could pick up items from stores in town or shop for groceries in a nearby time.  Every so often we would travel farther to do a big shopping. But most of the time, everything we needed could be found close to home.

Somehow I have never been a big fan of big malls and giant department stores when I can get all that I need in town.

News and notes from here and there

Chester is losing one of its favorite businesses, Erskine’s Grain Store. The Erskine’s store operated first at the site of the former thrift store in between Yosemite Firehouse and Town Hall on Route 103. It also had a gas pump.

It then moved to its current location in the early 1960s. It is very hard for many of us to say goodbye to that store.

Jeanie, my daughter, got us hooked up on Zoom, enabling us to talk and see my two nephews, Mike Mansur in Albuquerque, N.M., and Kim Mack, in Dallas, Texas. What a treat. And we are going to do it again this coming Tuesday.

Those Sons of the American Legion fellows sold 120 pulled pork lunches on Saturday at the Chester American Legion Post 67, 637 VT Route 103 S. And they are doing barbequed chicken this coming Saturday. For more information, click here.

Happy birthday Doris Westine.

What are the odds of finding a four-leaf clover? One in 10,000, according to the AARP magazine.

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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