Tuesday, April 24, 2012


My great uncle Tom Lyle Williams had given me a Baby diamond ring in an Art Deco setting when I was born. It remained in a Floor Safe under an oriental rug in our garage, along with other valuable items and important papers.

After the remains of our house had been cleared off the lot, the safe was excavated and taken to a locksmith to be blow-torched open.  Hoping for a miracle, Georgia and I held our breath as a gush of black mucky slush... a combination of important documents mixed with rain water...poured out of the safe.  We almost lost hope when all of a sudden Georgia yelled, "wait Mom, look!"  

There in the middle of the muddy black ash sparkled the tiny diamond ring, like a beam of light in a dark scary night.  It reminded me of the saying, "It's always darkest before the dawn." and "Don't give up five minutes before the miracle." 

How that tiny ring survived the crematorium of that firestorm is a mystery.  I took it as meaning no matter how small and insignificant we think we are - the bright spirit inside us will endure even on the brink of hopelessness. 

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I realized that maybe the glory day's were gone... along with my precious heirlooms..... but my memories were still in tact and I can at least pass them on to Georgia. Nothing can take them away from her and she can pass them on to her kids someday.

That night in deep meditation a flash of light appeared in my mind and my great uncle, Tom Lyle, came to me.  He looked the same as he did in a dream I'd had about him the night he died.  I got the distinct feeling he was trying to tell me something.  

As I slowed my mind down I felt him saying..... "if you tell my story, I don't want to be remembered as the man who invented make-up, I want to be remembered as
                    "THE KING OF ADVERTISING." 

Now I knew I couldn't have a professional writer tell my story like William Morris wanted.  I had to write the book myself... with my dad's help..... so that the heart and soul of the family would remain in tact through my voice.  My story would be about an era gone with the wind, a company that remains a giant in its field today and a family whose love endured the triumphs and tragedies of success, while remaining as strong and resilient as a Baby diamond ring.

The Maybelline Story took another 17 years to finally be published, by Bettie Youngs Books in September of 2010.  My dad helped me write a 968 page manuscript that had to be edited a dozen times, but in the end it was my voice telling my story.  My dad didn't live to see The Maybelline Story in print.  However, the last thing he said to me two weeks before he died in 2006, was,
 "don't give up...It will happen."

My dad and I rebuilt a beautiful home together and Georgia and I finally began our new lives two and a half years after the firestorm.....But that's a new chapter!!!!

 Stay tuned tomorrow and the rest of the week as I post pictures of the house being built from the ground up.

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