Does anyone remember visits from the Avon Lady?
The local lady carrying the big black bag filled with treasures was a highly anticipated event in the life of this pre-teen girl. During summer vacation from school, I was allowed to sit with mother while the Avon lady dramatically opened her bag and showed mother all the newest products.
We never knew exactly when she was coming, but when she arrived Mrs. Verta parked her old Dodge in the driveway and stepped out immaculately decked out. Always in high heels and stockings, her hair carefully coiffed and face made up perfectly, she seemed the perfect representative for a cosmetics company. I was most intrigued with the large black product bag tossed over her shoulder.
Whatever work was in progress -- inside or outside the house -- stopped when Mrs. Verta arrived. Sissy and I were allowed to sit alongside mother while the Avon lady removed one bottle or tube after the other, allowing us to sample or sniff.
I don't recall that mother ever visited a department store cosmetic counter back in those days. Why would she? Avon had everything she needed. Rich Moisure Cream, Skin So Soft Bubble Bath and hand cream were the standard purchases, along with To A Wild Rose and Here's My Heart bath powder, soaps and spray cologne.
When I became interested in make-up, I got my first samples from Mrs. Verta. And during those tender years I thought Here's My Heart in the beautiful blue bottle was the epitomy of grown-upness.
As a teenager I lost interest in Avon and wanted cosmetics from the drugstore. Max Factor pancake makeup, Windsong cologne, Revlon lipstick.
Avon is, of course, still around today. Representatives no longer make house calls in these days of Internet shopping. I occasionally see their product brochures in beauty shops and other places of business. Avon ladies are still around; but there are no longer any Mrs. Vertas.
The company was established more than 120 years ago. Becoming a representative offered a unique way for women to take control of their lives and move toward economic independence at a time before before women even had the right to vote and when most were expected to remain within the home rather than going out and earning a living.
It also was a way women living in rural or remote areas had a way of purchasing beauty products without having to travel into the towns.
In 1954 the famous "ding-dong, Avon calling" ad was first heard on US television. Below is an ad from 1962.
The company has an interesting history, which you can read about here.
Did the "Avon Lady" ever visit you?