Wednesday, May 22, 2013

After the sale of the Maybelline Company, Tom Lyle Williams donates the Maybelline Building and 100 million dollars to The Salvation Army and CARE

 By Harris A. Neil Jr.

And that’s how things stood as the family and I moved to Colorado. It could have been the end of the story, but the bridge still spanned the miles, and contacts continued.

Some of us exchanged notes to stay in touch. I remember a nice note from our receptionist, Mary Wennerstrand, and another one from Ed Roessler, our Receiving and Warehouse Manager.

Then there was Rags. He sent me two very warm and personal notes over a span of several years, and I treasure them. They show up in the end notes following this section.

In addition, I had and made several phone calls to various people. Particularly I remember one call from Herb Zimmerman in February, 1969. He was quite excited, and told me that there had been a meeting that day in T. L.’s old office (the “Gold Room,” called that because of its gold leaf ceiling and appointments.) The Plough people ran the meeting, and it was apparently a “group firing” of most of the remaining key Maybelline group. John Cole was among them, and that hit me particularly hard. However, Herb survived, along with Julius Wagman and Mary Ann Anderson.

At Christmas time in 1969, the family and I went back to Chicago for a holiday visit with our relatives, there and in Michigan. During our stay, Mary Ann Anderson (now Chartoc, she had gotten married) put a small gathering together in our honor at their lake-front condo on Chicago’s North Side. It was she, her husband Shep, Dorothy Molander, Julius Wagman and his wife, and me and my wife. We had a quiet dinner and a nice visit, maybe just a bit on the somber side.

That visit in 1969 was my last contact with any of the Maybelline people. In later visits to Chicago I drove by the Ridge Avenue building, which had become a Salvation Army retail store. That was probably because T. L. had donated the building to them, tenants and all! Interestingly enough, in the days after his donation one of the tenants was Plough, Inc.! (Nowadays if you go to Google Street View, the Clark Street frontage is decorated with large awnings that identify it as “Chicago Furniture Liquidators.”)

So that was that—except for the memories. Only some of them are here in these recollections, there are just too many to fit all of them in. All of them are “baked in the pie,” and they won’t go away.

After that shaky start, it was one wonderful ride!

Stay tuned tomorrow for final thoughts from Harris A. Neil Jr.

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