Monday, October 24, 2016

Nana's Maybelline Beauty Secrets were taught to me as a child

When Nana was a young girl, in 1915, she like most young ladies of her time, read a movie magazine called Photoplay, that revealed Beauty Secrets of the Harem, so to speak.  The secrets were homemade beauty tricks passed on from one generation to the next and were built upon as the ages unfolded. Nana and her sisters,Verona and Bunny learned the tricks, to make themselves as glamorous and alluring as the silent screen stars.
Nana's little protegee
I was indoctrinated into the Harem when at 5 years old, when Nana  made my eyes up and paraded me around my great uncle Tom Lyle's living room for applause.  From that time on, Nana became my mentor and I her little protege.

One of her delicious little secrets for depuffing your eyes "after a late night romp with Valentino" she'd wink, was TEA BAGS.
1953, Nana, my dad, my sister, Donna, Me and my Mom

Yes, just plain old black tea bags.  But there was more.  First you place two tea bags in a half cup of boiling water for about 30 seconds, just to get the tea moving.  Next, you  gently squeeze out the excess water and place them on a small plate.  Now stick them in the freezer until they are ice cold.  Lay down for half hour if possible but at least 15 minutes and meditate on how gorgeous you are going to look with your Maybelline eyes tonight.  Let me know what you think, I bet you will be begging for more of Nana's fabulous Secrets of the Harem.
Read more about my life as Nana's little protege, click onto Amazon right now and buy The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Finding my Maybelline Roots in Morganfield Kentucky

My Great grandmother, 16 year old Susan Anna Alvey, in 1877.

My Great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Willliams,  the local Sheriff and tax collector, was fearless when it came to doing the right thing.  He lost his right eye and often teased his grandchildren by pulling fake eye out and handing it to one of them. My dad remembered running away screaming.

Susan Anna Alvey Williams and TJ had 6 children. The most famous being Tom Lyle Williams, founder of the Maybelline Company. When Susan Anna, died in 1919, of the great flu, TJ turned his attention to keeping the books for Tom Llyle in the early years of Maybelline. 

On the farm as children, my grandfather William Preston Williams and his little sister Eva K. Williams in 1909. 

The 500 acre family farm and homestead was over 100 years old, by the time the Williams kids were born.  By 1916, the farm was sold and the family moved to Chicago, to assist Tom Lyle with the Maybelline Company.

TJ and Anna's third grandchild, and their son, Noel James and Frances Williams second child, Annette Williams, plays with the chickens before the farm was finally sold.
The country story wore many hats in the early day's, including being the local post office, photography studio, soda fountain, and supply store.  it also acted as a saloon at one time, before Prohibition  in 1920.

Noel James, wife Frances, with their two girls, Helen and Annette, in Morganfield, visiting the homestead.  The family was now prospering in Chicago, as the Maybelline Company continued to grow.

Little Helen, with the chickens in Morganfield.

                   Little Annette in the chicken coop.

Sheriff TJ with my father William Preston Williams Jr., in 1925.

And finally the Big Three, Sheriff Thomas Jefferson with his son, Tom Lyle Williams, and his first grandchild, Tom Lyle Williams Jr. in Chicago, 1934.

Read more about Morganfield and the early days of Maybelline in The Maybelline Story.

Do you watch the TV Show, "Finding your Roots?" Anyone interested in their Genealogy, would learn a lot from the tremendous research done to produce every episode. Several of my cousins have researched our family history and even proved our connection with the great Patriot, Benjamin Franklin, and General Jonathon Williams, of the Revolutionary War. Here is a tiny glimpse into my roots in Kentucky. I'm proud to have those Southern ties in my background.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Maybelline Story opens the doors to a fascinating era in America's history during the 20th Century.

1943 - Executive Secretary to Noel and Tom Lyle Williams, Dorothy Mullander, stands in front of the Maybelline Company's famous Maybelline logo on the double doors leading into the Maybelline building.  The Maybelline building was two stories with a basement and three apartments for family members who just got married and were getting on their feet.  The packaging and distribution center was also located in the basement.  The first floor held offices for various secretaries and other workers and the walls were filled with pictures of movie stars who modeled for Maybelline in the pages of world wind magazines.  The second floor contained the executive offices for Noel, Tom Lyle, Tom Jr and Rags Ragland.  The Maybelline Building was located at 5900 Ridge Ave, at Ridge and Clark, in the heart of down town Chicago where much of  The Maybelline Story takes place during the gangster ridden era of prohibition.

Outside the Maybelline Building 1934.
When Maybelline was sold, each employee was given $1,000 for each year they worked at Maybelline. Even those who hadn't been there a full year got $1,000. Uncle Lyle's secretary Dorothy (aka Ducky) ended up with something like $35,000 as did another secretary called Jimmie. Jimmie called Mable to ask her to relay to TL how grateful was that she could retire after she got her $30,000 check. At the time my parents had a bookstore and a former employee came in and told them he was bowled over to receive $8,000.

Tom Lyle, Jr. inherited his father's shyness. Mable's daughter Shirley worked summers at Maybelline and she said every morning TL Jr. walked briskly to his private office, said a brief hello to everyone and no one saw him again until the end of the day. On the other hand, Noel kept up with all the employees' and their families. The women who worked there loved him dearly and called him Unky.

When Tom Lyle died, his niece Shirley got a phone call from TL, Jr.'s lawyer.  He said Tom Lyle Jr. was too shy to go downtown to meet with the executor and lawyers and asked Shirley to do it. She went downtown to explain all the family members and their relationships to the family. Good thing she had and still has an excellent memory.  (Memories from Mable's daughters, Shirley and Joyce, and her granddaughters, Donna and Linda, who still live in Chicago.
Tom Lyle Williams at his home in Bel Air, after the sale of his Maybelline Company in 1968

TL left a big portion of his estate to the Salvation Army. For many years he rented them space in the Maybelline building for $1 annually.

If you enjoyed HBO's Mildred Pierce with it's Hollywood era of the 1930's and 1940's, you will go nuts over The Maybelline Story.

Monday, October 3, 2016

A generously populated, multi-generational saga, The Maybelline Story gives gentle moral lessons to boot.

The Maybelline Story starts almost a century ago and takes you though the interesting life of founder Tom Lyle Williams and his fascinating family as he climbs his way to achieving the all American dream. Cross country it will take you from Chicago to Hollywood, mingling with the who's who in each era and location. Read how a fluke turned into a simple product, and how it turned into an international sensation and empire.

The Maybelline Story is one that has left a lasting impression upon America, yet not many realize just how vital a role the cosmetic brand has played in shaping idealism today.  The obsession with perfection is widely seen throughout Hollywood, as it was nearly 100 years ago.  However, the obsession at that time did not reach the rest of society as it has today.  Early cosmetic developers, such as founder Tom Lyle Williams of the Maybelline Co. brought cosmetics to the everyday woman, pushing the idea that every woman, young and old, regardless of class, can obtain glamour and beauty with a simple swish of the eyes.  That’s where Maybelline got its start.  Developed in a time where women were breaking away from being modest and obedient housewives, and starting to seek their right as legal voters and equals in society.

The Maybelline story captivates all audiences by its incredible survival through economic, social, and personal turmoil.  The Maybelline Story takes you on a journey through 20th century America, and into
the 21st century where Maybelline New York, now owned by L'Oreal, thrives as a billion-dollar Icon and still the world’s largest cosmetic brand.

Get your signed copy today from author, Sharrie Williams, just click on the picture of the Book on the side column of this page.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Growing up fast, driving fast cars and being the son of a Maybelline heir in the 1970's, was quite the hayday!

My sister Donna with Preston  in 1977

1966, my brother Preston turned 16. He lived with our dad, Bill Williams, at his estate in Palm Springs. Our dad, owned many exotic cars.  Any kid would be tempted to sneak the keys, invite a friend and take a spin through the winding streets of  Old Los Palmas. Since our handsome, man about town, dad, spent plenty of time, "doing his own thing," so to speak, my brother was hard pressed to keep his hands of daddy's cars.  Here is one of my favorite stories, written by Preston.

Dads 1971 Jag XKE V12, was quite fast.  I remember doing one of those joy rides, unbeknownst to Dad, who was at the condo in Newport Beach.  Tom and I had just driven out of the gates of Casa de Guillermo, turned right on to Patencio Road and then pulled onto the dirt shoulder side of the road, to test it's pony's.  I threw it into low drive and punched it!  It starting spinning it's wheels throwing dirt and all of a sudden grabbed a rock or something and jerked to the left.  The car did a complete 360 circle.  The long front end swung around like the hand of a clock and we both saw the wall next to us coming closer and closer as the front end swung around. Thank God the car missed it by the hair of my chiney chin chin, but needless to say that pretty much ended our fun for the day, as we both we freaked out after that!  But, tomorrow would come and I am sure we got into something else because I knew where the keys to all the cars were so, when dad was always an adventure! 

Written by William Preston Williams lll

Read more about Preston and his adventures in The Maybelline Story 

Lou Gehrig's disease
Also called: ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Man dropping dishes due to progressive muscle weakness.
A nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function.

Sadly, my brother Preston, has recently been diagnosed with ALS disease. So far it has affected his voice and he has some weakness in his arms and legs. He fell because of a lazy foot and broke 4 toes a few days ago. ALS, is a hideous disease with no answer as to why it attacks.  If any of you know people with ALS, post on my blog. I would love some information and encouragement.  Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge. It raised money for a cure check it out