Joe Brown: My Dad, My Hero
When I was growing up, my dad Joe Brown was always my hero — he was literally the coolest dad around. He had his own law firm in Chicago and my friends called him “Gorge” because he was really handsome (the girls had big crushes on him). Despite having a 9-to-5 job, my dad always loved creating art. He took time to sculpt, draw and loved black and white photography. He would spend nights and weekends working in the darkroom, developing his pictures.
He has also always been an incredible storyteller, making up stories about three kids that were based on my brother, sister and I. One of his characters was a New York City Taxi driver named Marceau who had an incredible imagination and used the time in his cab to escape the doldrum of everyday life and teach life lessons to readers. My dad wrote all of these stories down on paper and tucked them away in a drawer.
When my dad turned 70, I knew I had to do something to honor him, so I had 100 books printed of his story and had them displayed in the window of a bookshop in Telluride, Colorado. I will never forget how happy he was to see his story in print. He kept on writing and soon had his first book, The Flights of Marceau, published by Scholastic. The publisher loved it and sent him on a book tour. He loves talking about his work as an author and inspiring reading and creativity in students. He is someone who found his true passion much later in life.
Fast-forward, he’s now is now 83 (and just as handsome, with twinkles in his eyes and a smile that melts hearts!) and has published nine books on The Flights of Marceau and is working on a screenplay that will someday be turned into a movie. He has an agent, a filmmaker, a producer and is back and forth to Hollywood meeting with industry guys. He has read to children in schools all over the world and gives every kid a book to bring home. He regularly reads in Chicago, but has also read everywhere from New Jersey to California — he’s even read in Vietnam and on an Indian reservation in Arizona. He’s magical with children and there’s nothing greater than watching himpreform. The teachers adore him as well.
I am so proud that he is not only the person I call my father, but the guy I also call my best friend. He was there to support me studying makeup in college, even though he didn’t really get it, and also the first guy to hear me out on my crazy idea I had for a lipstick that might turn into a company. He is an amazing father. He’s also a reminder today, and everyday, that it is never too late to write your own story.
Happy Father’s Day!