Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maybelline was more than just a tin of mascara.

The final chapter of Chet and Mabel's love story.  Softly as I Leave You.

The Maybelline Story is a series of Love Stories in a family that not only gave the world it's first commercially sold mascara, but also added a bit of romance to the American tapestry.

Chet Hewes in his 80's was proud of this picture and sent it the entire family.  He wrote, "I just caught this beautiful black bass here in our little Tower Lake, show it to the rest of the gang,"  signed, Poppy.

After the Maybelline Company sold in Dec of 1967, Chet and Mabel moved into the newly constructed Lake Point Tower, located on a promontory of the Lake Michigan lakefront in downtown Chicago.

They spent their final years there, captivated by the spectacular views of the shoreline . . They loved the security of having a 24 hour doorman, and enjoyed all of the amenities - including a playground, pool, duck pond, and waterfalls - shops and restaurants and even a 2.5 acre park. But the thing that Chet liked the most, was an ATM machine that spit out $100 bills on demand.  He said he and Mabel never had to leave the building because it was a world within a world.

Mabel and Chet at Tom Lyle's in 1972.
Final Mabel and Chet story, from their granddaughter, Linda Hughes:

Grammy never wanted anything but to have a family and Poppy felt the same. They were stereotypical of their times - he earned the money, took care of the yard, cars and that sort of thing. She took care of the kids and house. Even Joyce, who can be a rabid feminist, said Gammy was the happiest, most content person and would not have wanted another kind of life.

Grammy and Poppy, loved one another literally to the end. The night she died they were living in Chicago,  Gammy had had chest pain earlier in the evening so she went to lie down.  When Poppy checked on her she was gone. My parents rushed down and arrived before the ambulance.  Poppy asked my mother to come with him into the bedroom where she lay in bed and said  "I want you to see how beautiful she still looks."  

I'm reminded of the song, Softly As I Leave You,  Frank Sinatra sang it and the line "For my heart would break if you should wake and see me go."

Frank Sinatra - Softly As I Leave You 

To this day Mabel and Chet's love story lives on in the hearts of those who were lucky enough to have known them.  I'm happy to say they touched my live in the most profound way and were instrumental, in my desire, to tell the Williams family's story. 

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