Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Priceless Maybelline Family History became a Memoir after meeting my Publisher Bettie Youngs.

I've had a passion for my family history ever since I was in Jr. High School, when my Nana told me about the birth of the Maybelline company.  She demonstrated how my great auntie Mabel mixed  ashes from a burnt cork with Vaseline, dabbed it on her brows and lashes to darken them and hoped the concoction would make them grow.  Nana's love for Maybelline's history ignited a fire in my belly as she painted colorful pictures with her words.  She explained how my great uncle Tom Lyle Williams, a 19 year old entrepreneur with a small mail-order business in 1915, realized the value of his sister Mabel's idea and decided to market it as mascara and name it Maybelline in her honor.
My grandfather Preston with his
little sister Eve Williams, 1908
Nana was so proud of Maybelline's great success in the cosmetic field that she suggested I give a speech at school.....I did and I got an A+.  From that minute on, I was obsessed uncovering the lost story about the people who shaped the Maybelline Company and my life.   After spending precious time with my parents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles gathering memories, collecting photographs and vintage Maybelline ads, I was determined to write my book.  Then, in 1978, My dear Nana died mysteriously in an arson related fire and I vowed not to let her memory die.  So for the next 20 years I studied being an intensive journal keeper, using the Ira Progoff system, until eventually I found my writer's voice.
My father - great uncle Tom Lyle - Nana 1967.
When a fire burned down my home in 1993 and all my treasures were lost, I turned to my father, Bill Williams, to help me reconstruct a 963 page manuscript, however, it wasn't until I met Bettie Youngs, a publisher who specializes in Memoirs, that a real book was born.
After three years of working with Bettie Youngs and having my story edited a dozen times, The Maybelline Story, was born and sent out into the world.  I believe I was divinely inspired  to leave a legacy before a piece priceless piece of American history was lost forever.  I hope other people will be inspired to research their roots, capture their family's story and preserve it for their children, grandchildren and beyond.  

History is the greatest gift one can pass on and connecting with your ancestors is priceless.  My Nana's words still ring in my ears today, "Sharrie Darling" she'd say, "you can lose everything, but nobody can ever take your background away." 
Check out ancestry.com today and see who's in your family tree. 

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