A reader from Carmel, IN, USA, recommended today's crumb of tribute to Roy Eaton, 84, a man who personifies the term "bounce-back-ability." Born on May 14, 1930 to Jamaican immigrants, he grew up in Harlem. His Dad was a mechanic and his Mom a domestic servant, but they knew their son could break the chain of poverty. Despite losing part of a finger on his right hand when he was three, he began taking piano lessons when he was six, and learned quickly. One year later he won a competition at Carnegie Hall. At age 20, he debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With encouragement from his parents, he studied at City College of NY and the Manhattan School of Music simultaneously, eating lunch each school day in five minutes or less. He later studied at the University of Zurich, and then Yale.
After a stint in the Army during the Korean War, he needed a job and became the first African-American person to have creative functions and general accounts at a major NYC advertising agency. Known as the Jackie Robinson of advertising, he wrote familiar jingles like "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star" and "We're having Beefaroni. It's made from macaroni." Then tragedy struck. In 1959 he was in a car crash that killed his bride and left him in a coma with a 10% chance of survival, but he did survive and continued his advertising career until returning to the concert stage in 1986, performing (where else?) at Lincoln Center.
According to our Indiana contributor, Roy was on TV recently and said he owes everything to his Mother. She was devoted to the Unity School of Christianity, and promised him, "The light of God surrounds you, the love of God enfolds you, the power of God protects you," a popular Unity prayer.
And his "lifetime mantra" was also a gift from his Mother. She reminded him again and again, that, to overcome prejudice, he needed to do 200% to get credit for 100%. And so he did.
Happy Mother's Day.
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