About 10 years ago, maybe more, Indianapolis Monthly ran a story that was, well, a marvel. Constructed as a profile of a high-flying local CEO and his wife, it was one of those things that walked a line so delicate that at some points it didn’t seem to exist at all. How to tell the story of a 40something CEO and his 20something second wife, a woman he supposedly met when she jumped out of a cake at his son’s bachelor party, without seeming, oh, to be just a little too in love with the details?
And what details they were — there was that cake, of course, and the obvious matter of her last paying job (at a strip club). There was the charm school she happily admitted attending — and sending her mother to — so she could move with the CEO class and know which one was the fish fork. And there was the house, oh, the house. The 23,000-square foot mansion has a name (Le Château Renaissance), along with carved this and gilded that and the murals, so many murals:
Stepping through the massive mahogany double doors and past the neoclassical murals in the marble-floored foyer, visitors to Stephen Hilbert’s Carmel mansion are greeted by a giant likeness of the former chief of Conseco Inc. Hilbert gazes down upon his guests from a domed mural fantasy two floors up. Dressed as a Greco-Roman warrior, Hilbert stands astride a cloud, with a breast-baring queen beside him.
There was also a replica of Indiana University’s Assembly Hall out back, complete with replica NCAA championship banners, where John Mellencamp and Evan Bayh played pickup games with their host.
As someone once said of Bob Greene, it was as though these people had no embarrassment gene. And the marvel about the story was, it was the sort of thing they would read, put down and say, “What a nice story that man wrote about us” and everyone else would read, put down and shudder.
My reaction was: The first wife got the best part of that deal. As I recall, she settled for a big, fat bag of money and the Colorado ski house. She got a new lease on life, a Get Out of Indiana Free card and the perfect place to watch her ex-husband make a fool of himself over a stripper.
Well, as you can imagine, it all ended badly — the business, that is. The CEO and his wife, the ineffably named Tomisue, were forced to leave the murals behind when the corporation sued them for it, and had to move into veritable pauper’s quarters down the road (a mere $2.4 million house). But they’re still married! And Tomisue, anyway, is still swingin’!
She has, she tells, us “a passion for helping others.” And what better way to help others than to launch your own line of handbags: Launching a line of purses and apparel gives me another vehicle to give back to the community. Lending a helping hand to others and my love of design and fashion are both very near and dear to my heart. For this reason, I am so pleased that a portion of all proceeds from my handbag and apparel lines will benefit charitable organizations. Giving back to the community has been, is, and will continue to motivate me in all that I do.
Knock around Tomisue’s site. I especially enjoyed the video clip of Tomisue presenting personalized photo purses to the Denver Broncos cheerleading squad.
You’ve heard of “My TiVo thinks I’m gay”? Welcome to “The iTunes Music Store thinks I’m retarded.” This is the playlist it suggested for me, based on my previous purchases and, I suppose, the evil spies who creep into your room at night and root through your files.
Hey Ya! / OutKast
O-o-h Child / The Five Stairsteps
I’m Too Sexy / Right Said Fred
Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long Long Time) / Elton John
The Humpty Dance / Digital Underground
For Your Love / Yardbirds
Cinnamon Girl / Neil Young
Pictures of Matchstick Men / Camper Van Beethoven
Owner of a Lonely Heart / Iowa State University
The Reason / Hoobastank
Lights and Sounds / Yellowcard
America / Neil Diamond
I Will Survive / Gloria Gaynor
Dancing With Myself / Billy Idol
Ride Wit Me / Nelly & City Spud
Who the hell is Yellowcard? And why would I like them?