We Knew Dad Fuller

FootinDoorAmazonYou may know Alfred C. Fuller as the founder of the Fuller Brush Company and the original Fuller Brush man. Those who lived in Hartford, CT, and had the fortune to work for his company, knew him as Dad Fuller.

My father, Ralph Donofrio, had many family members who worked there beginning with his own father Vincent (Jimmie) Donofrio. Jimmie worked for the company in the 1930s which early on was called The Capital Brush Co. when it was located at Union Place/Church Street near the bus depot in Hartford.

Years later after the brick Fuller Brush building shown above was open, my father’s brothers and sisters, and an uncle or two all worked there. It was at this building at 3580 Main Street where my father and mother met working in the production brush department.

Although their meeting was a miracle in my own life, the reason why Dad Fuller built his brush business in Hartford, CT, is a greater miracle. At the front of the Bible Alfred Fuller’s mother gave him when he left Nova Scotia, he noticed that it had been published in Hartford, CT. When picking a place to open a brush manufacturing and sales business, he chose that city.

Dad Fuller was a generous man to whom my family and many others including Billy Graham (a former salesman), owe much gratitude…for financial help and in my case, even my existence. His nephew, Harvey Fuller, also presented me with a scholarship to college in 1962.

Listen to Ralph Donofrio talking of his experiences with the Fuller Brush Company:

  • Family and Fuller Brush
  • Brush Making

Autobiography of Alfred C. Fuller’s life, A Foot in the Door, is available from Amazon used only


Silent Retreat Miracle

Fall Foliage

People who know me, understand the radical idea of this blog’s title. Get me around people and I’d rather talk or even listen, definitely not enjoy silence.

Why did I feel that I was being prompted to attend the next retreat in the fall? An attendee of the spring retreat spoke from the platform one Sunday in April telling of her experience. Not wanting to be disobedient to a God prompting, I put the idea of signing up  somewhere on the “back burner.”

Then it was the fall, and the pastor was urging people to attend the silent retreat he and his wife were hosting in a cabin beside a lake. The prompting was much stronger this time. I felt compelled to sign up. ME, can you imagine?

We rode in a van over to the cabin and I settled upstairs in a room with two cots. My roommate came in late; it was the woman who spoke in April and decided at the very last minute to come back. Strange.

We went down to supper, a time when people were encouraged to speak. Each of us stated why we were there. Then the talk shifted to how one could hear from God during the retreat.

My roommate, a new Christian, was perplexed; she had not heard voices or seen any visions in the spring. How could she be sure  whether God was speaking to her?

She may have been perplexed, but I finally knew why I had literally been dragged to this retreat. As casually as I could, I told everyone at the table that God speaks to people, audibly, visually, and kinesthetically (through the other senses)…depending on how they each process information. I heard God’s promptings because I’m an audio thinker. Others might feel God speak while out walking in nature. And many experience his voice while they are writing.

Soon it was time to silently retire for the night. The next day with guidance from the pastor, we each went our way to meet again after lunch.

As expected, I received no new revelations that day, just a bit of a rest and new admiration for how God arranges things. For my roommate was bubbling with joy that afternoon when she reported that God did indeed speak to her when she was writing. She had been unaware before, but now she recognized His “voice.”

Location: Fall in New England
Type of Miracle: Reassurance, Guidance



Miracle of How Private Property Saved Plymouth

A well-meaning debate about the relative value of capitalism versus socialism is ongoing in this country. But few know the details of what happened in the spring of 1622 in Plymouth Colony that determined America’s financial direction. William Bradford was elected governor on the death of the first governor. A young man in his 30s, Bradford was left to make decisions that would impact the success of the small colony.

Ships at Sunset
Ships at Sunset

One issue was how to get more food supplies. New colonists arrived by the dozens, but none brought supplies. And Bradford was ordered by the man back in England who had funded the expedition, to feed and house any new arrivals without  additional support forthcoming. Most of these latter arrivals would eventually move north toward what would become Boston. They would compete for the animal skins that would be sent to England to pay the colony’s debt.

Living through two dire years, Bradford felt sure that one problem with their inadequate food harvest was inherent in the system that required all to work for the general good. With no incentive to earn more than an allotted share, some worked less while others worked more. To remedy that, Bradford made a radical decision. He gave each household a few shares of private property to plant as they saw fit. Here in his own words, complete with old English spelling, was the result:

“This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted then other waise would have bene by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deall of trouble, and gave farr better contente.”*

Bradford set the financial principle that would define America down through the centuries. Times have changed, but people have not. Free enterprise offers incentives that free handouts never could.

*To learn more about the Pilgrims read:
William Bradford: Plymouth’s Faithful Pilgrim, by Gary D. Schmidt, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 1999