One Small Voice
by Laura McGaffey
Articles originally published in "The Voice in the Desert"

"Avon Calling"
April 2005

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Maryclare Tiuan and her sisters Marcella and Joan are a trio of human dust devils. While many people choose to spend their retirements golfing, pursuing a hobby, or just plain doing as little as possible, these three dynamoes are constantly on the go. Some have even teased Maryclare about being one of those Type-A personalities who make the rest of us look like undisciplined slouchers.

A few weeks ago I asked Maryclare to drop by so I could order items from the Avon catalog. While having tea and chatting I learned that she and her sisters operate "High Valley Sales" and that Avon is only one of two businesses they operate under that corporate umbrella. The name "High Valley Sales" refers to the high altitude of the Sulphur Springs Valley.

Eleven years ago, Maryclare and her husband, Luis, opened "The Cottage", a gift shop at the "Swap Meet" in Tucson. Two years later "Ruthie's Avon", the shop next door, came up for sale and they bought it, retaining the original, well-known name.

In "Ruthie's Avon" all stock is sold at sale prices. Nothing is sold at full price. Marcella watches Avon's sales meticulously and buys stock for the store only when items are on sale in the catalogs so they pass the savings on to their customers. Their in-store inventory includes everything that Avon offers in any of their campaign catalogs.

"The Cottage" has an eclectic selection of gift-giving treasures. Maryclare stocks the store with ceramic items from the "Chili Pepper Outpost" in Sunizona and dreamcatchers from a Navajo couple in Tucson. She also stocks the store with copper music boxes in honor of Arizona being "the copper state". The store is filled with treasures from all over, many of which she orders from wholesale catalogs.

Joan holds down the fort at both stores and keeps things operating smoothly.

The stores are open on Friday evenings, all day Saturdays into the evening, and Sunday morning and afternoon.

If operating these stores wasn't enough to do in one's retirement, the sisters are also active members of two social groups in Sunizona. Currently Marcella is President and Maryclare is Secretary of the Sunizona Ash Creek Association. The Association has been around for about 35 years and owns a meeting hall behind the Mustang Mall. Yearly dues is only $5.00. They meet on the first Tuesdsay evening of each month for dinner at 6:00 p.m. with an after-dinner speaker. The dinner is $5.00 and meets at the Association hall just mentioned.

Marcella and Maryclare reverse their roles at the second group. Currently Maryclare is the President and Marcella is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Valley Women's Club. This is an even older organization that was started many, many years ago by the wives of the early ranchers and farmers of the Sulphur Springs Valley who decided to gather once a month to get away from their chores and just socialize. The club has been ongoing since its inception around a century ago. Yearly dues is only $3.00 and monthly potluck luncheon meetings 25 cents. The meetings are held at the Sunizona Ash Creek Association Hall on the third Wednesday of each month at noon.

You can contact Maryclare at her home in Sunizona, 520-824-3477, or at her Tucson phone number, 520-883-0782. You can also send her an email at