Posts Tagged ‘globe’

My mother liked to buy from people who sold door-to-door. There aren’t many door-to-door salespeople who get a welcome these days. Maybe Brownies with Girl Scout cookies or Cub Scouts with popcorn, but not many others. I haven’t seen an Avon lady in decades.

My mother bought from a “huckster,” a vegetable salesman in an old school bus painted blue. And of course, there was the Fuller Brush Man.

Recently, Linda Matchan at the Boston Globe wrote about a Massachusetts-based Fuller Brush Man who is still making sales after 40 years.

Al Cohen, she says, has been at it second-longest of the three remaining Fuller Brush Men in Massachusetts — “40 years with the Fuller Brush Co., which was launched 110 years ago by Alfred C. Fuller in his sister’s Somerville basement. He’s done it by selling one Angle Broom and Wooly Bully Hand Duster at a time.

“ ‘Toward the end of summer, he appears. And we’re elated,’ said Melissa Zeller, a longtime Cohen customer who lives in the South End and has a summer home in Hull. …

“On a recent morning, he worked Hull’s Allerton Hill neighborhood. He’d brought a replacement mop head for one customer and hand soap for an older woman who’d been buying it for years.

“ ‘How you been?’ he greeted the customer, who was slow to answer the door.

‘ ‘Very sick,’ she said. ‘I had two heart attacks and I lost Tom.’

“The day was hot and it was slow going. … Then things got better. Maureen Keiller and Patrick Miehe bought a broom after Cohen assured them it was ‘laboratory tested to last over a million sweeps.’ Afterward, George and Helen Kelley ordered several items, though it was a challenging sell at first.

“ ‘I don’t think I’ll pay $25 for a broom,’ said Helen, 82. ‘It’ll last,’ said Cohen. ‘How long will I last?’ she said.

“For that matter, how long will Al Cohen keep at it?

“ ‘It keeps me going,’ he said. ‘And if I stopped, it would almost be a letdown for some of my customers. Some of them depend on me.’ ”

More here.

Photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Al Cohen, 64, estimates that he still has about 1,000 regular customers for his Fuller cleaning products.

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The latest thing in tiny houses is taking a vacation in one. The Boston Globe suggests that if you have been intrigued about downsizing (way, way down sizing) to a tiny house, you could test one out. Or maybe you just want to simplify your life for a week.

Jessica Geller writes, “Getaway, a new startup out of Harvard, is taking the off-the-grid retreat and miniaturizing it. …

“For $119 a night, a group of four can book a cabin complete with hotel basics, such as towels and sheets. The tiny house is stocked with snacks, bicycles, firewood, and playing cards, all available for purchase via Venmo, a mobile payment system.

“Getaway … is one of the first projects out of the Millennial Housing Lab — a collaboration among the business, law, and design schools [at Harvard] — with the goal of developing fresh housing ideas for a new generation. …

“But are they too cramped for comfort? Jon Staff, a cofounder of the Millennial Housing Lab, says no. They’re full of conveniences. And they might just teach visitors a thing or two about scaling back. …

“In addition to Getaway, the Millennial Housing Lab plans to build tiny houses for the homeless and create kits for anyone to be able to build a house in 30 days.

“At 160 square feet, the 8×20-foot Getaway cabin is larger than the average minivan, 90 square feet, and a little smaller than a school bus, 245 square feet.”

Check out a few of my past posts on tiny houses: here, here, here, and here. And be watching for a series of photographs I’m taking of a tiny house going up gradually over the summer at the Umbrella Arts Center.

Photo: Kataram Studios

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I was always impressed when I saw a poem in the place of an ad in the New York City subway. Now Boston has caught on.

Martine Powers wrote recently at the Boston Globe, “Finally, Bostonians will have the chance to experience the pleasures of poetry on the MBTA.

“Mass Poetry [is] bringing poems to advertisement spaces on subway cars. The initiative, dubbed PoeTry, is part of the organization’s Poetry in Public Spaces initiative, which began last year, said Mass Poetry program director Laurin Macios…

“ ‘Contemporary poetry is barely taught in schools, and often when it is, it is taught in a very scholastic sense instead of an artistic one,’ Macios said. “People often grow up without ever realizing there is poetry out there that can speak to them, or that they can speak back to. …

“Each appearance of a poem includes a tearsheet on the corner of the sign, allowing passengers to take a copy of the poem with them if the spirit strikes them.”

One poem in the series, says Powers, “What Travels,” by Joseph O. Legaspi, takes place on a subway car. “What travels beneath their secret faces? What is train but transport to other lives?” More at the Globe.

See also http://masspoetry.org.

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom
Poem: “Bulls vs. Suns, 1993,” by Jos
é Olivarez

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