Thursday, September 2, 2010
Priceless Maybelline Family History
I've had a passion for my family history since I was in Jr. High School. My grandmother told me about the birth of the Maybelline company and how my Great Auntie Mabel mixed the ashes from a burnt cork with Vaseline and dabbed the mixture on her brows and lashes to make them grow and give them more color. She told me how Mabel’s brother, Tom Lyle, a 19 year old entrepreneur with a small mail-order business in 1915, realized the value of her idea and brought it into the world. He invented mascara and he named his company Maybelline in her honor and it became the greatest success in the cosmetic field. I gave a speech, got an “A,” and won popularity overnight. From that minute on, I became obsessed with uncovering the lost story about the people who shaped my life.
I spent time with all my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, collecting stories, photographs and vintage Maybelline ads for years and years. Then, in 1978, when my grandmother was killed in an arson related fire, I was determined not to let her memory die and vowed to write her story. For the last the next 20 years, I became an intensive journal writer, using the Ira Progoff system, and eventually found my writer's voice.
When a fire took my own home in 1993 and all my memories with it, I turned to my father for support and sat for two and a half years writing a 963 page manuscript about the family and the Maybelline history. However, it wasn’t until fate brought Bettie Youngs, an author and publisher, into my life that the book began to take form.
After three years of working together, and my story being edited a dozen times, The Maybelline Story was born and will be sent out into the world to inspire, entertain and leave a legacy for the people I have loved and who have passed on. If I wasn’t given this passion, a piece of American history would be lost forever and would have died with me. I hope other people have also been inspired to research their roots and capture what they find for their children and grandchildren.
History is the greatest gift one can pass on, and to be able to connect to your background is priceless.