When Jolyn Robichaux asked me to write her story, I almost doubted myself. I had just published Dear God, An Impatient Conversation with a Patient God. She was an atheist and a good friend and loved my book. She loved my style of writing and she believed that I was the perfect person to tell her story. She had done a lot of writing herself but never brought to a level where it could be published. I had hoped to finish her book in her lifetime, but she passed on February 2017. I committed myself to the promise I made to get her story published.
I had to decide on an approach to the story. It was rich in African American history spanning from 1928 to 1992. I didn’t want it to read like a history book, but I wanted to tell a story about a middle-class African American family growing up in the segregated Black Belt of Chicago and what life was like for them. I then wanted to show how the product from that family Jolyn Robichaux grew from a child to a teenager and then to adulthood. I wanted to show how historical events shaped her way of thinking.
I wanted the theme of the book to be finding one’s life purpose. I showed how she was thrown into her purpose with the sudden death of her husband as she juggled taking over the realms of Baldwin Ice Cream Company and raising two children as a single mother. I wanted to show her despair and as she turned to alcohol to ease her pain and then to her realization that she must stand up to this fight with a clear mind as she pulled herself together. I wanted to show how smart decisions could bring speedy results when things are going wrong.
I wanted to show how women dealt with men before the #Me Too# movement. I wanted to show her character curve as her personality went through changes.
I never forced myself to write. I waited for the story to reveal itself to me. I had to do extensive research to ensure that the time-line of events was accurate. I had to research some of the famous and not so famous people mentioned in the book. I sat on the story for some time to be sure that I was feeling it, and eventually, I did and it felt good.
It feels good to keep a promise to a friend and know that where ever she is, Jolyn Robichaux can be proud of this book. I thank her family for trusting me to write and publish her story.
Ladies and Gentlemen I present to “An Unlikely CEO The Jolyn Robichaux Story.”