Thursday, July 28, 2011

Maybelline Model? Not meant to be for me in 1966.

Maybelline switched gears in 1966 and focused on a more natural, softer teenage image.

                             Maybelline ad, 1966.

Nana, my dad Bill, me with dyed black hair and Unk Ile - Christmas at our house, 1965.  As Maybelline ads became softer and more natural, I screamed sexy and exotic.  Not good for an 18 year old as it turned out.

My grandmother  had convinced me to dress up for Christmas in a black cocktail dress, heals and of course my Chicken of the Sea hair-do.  When Unk Ile took one look at me he said, "My god, Sharrie, you look like your 35." 

Was that a good or bad thing?  I wasn't sure, but it wasn't what Maybelline was going for, targeting the teenage market in 1966.  In fact, Tom Lyle wanted just the opposite, soft, natural and sweet.  So my hopes of becoming the next teen Maybelline model were smashed. 

Nana watched me mope around a while, than said, "Sharrie, Darling, why don't you go back to Chicago next summer and stay with your aunts and uncles, meet your cousins and and get to know the Chicago branch of the family.


My spirits lifted and I was on my way.  Here I am, Queen of the super rollers, with my sister, Donna with pin straight surfer girl hair - happy to see me go for the summer, so she could drive my 57 Chevy to the beach everyday and surf.  I over packed for every occasion and was excited to take my first plane ride back to where it all began.

Exotic and over dressed for every ocassion in Chicago.

Nana encouraged me to take notes so I could document my trip in a long letter to Unk Ile when I got back.  I did, and those notes helped me write part of a book I'd  publish 45 years later, about my American, Dream Family.  When my house burned down in 1993 most of my pictures of the trip were lost.  However, one, the picture of auntie Eva and uncle Ches at their home on Mercer Lake survived.

uncle Ches and auntie Eva at their home on Mercer Lake.  It was here, as well as with Auntie Mabel and uncle Chet, Aunt Verona and Aunt Bunny, that the Maybelline Story, began to unfold.  A world gone by opened up with pictures, letters, and precious memories handed to me for safe keeping.  I began to piece together a family story like no other and though the result would take a lifetime, I finally made my dream come true in September of 2010, when The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It was published by Bettie Youngs Books.

Memories of Mabel and Chet on their Wedding Day,  Tom Lyle Williams, aka Unk Ile to us,  Maybelline eye shadow in the 1930's and an original Maybelline ad from 1925.
After two wonderful months of getting to know my aunts, uncles and cousins, I returned to California, (as you can see I don't look very happy about it.)  I wanted to stay in Chicago and start college, but my parents insisted I come home.  So here I am at the airport, with my mother, Pauline, My dad, Bill, Nana and little Preston and Billee.  I did keep a diary and wrote a 25 page letter to Unk Ile.  He was quite impressed with my writing and said, "Sharrie, you certainly have a way with words, I think you'd make a great copy writer, like Emery, someday." 

Read more about my trip to Chicago, and meet the amazing Williams family yourself in my book, The Maybelline Story.  I guarantee you, you won't be able to put it down, because you'll want to know, "OK,  what happened next!"

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