Meet Florence Littauer
Florence Littauer’s first name means "bursting into bloom." Flamboyant and gifted, she has taught college English, directed musical comedies, done fashion commentating for Macy’s, served on the founding staff of Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theater, and won the coveted "Best Female Speaker in New England Colleges" award. She enters every room with a dramatic flourish, and is famous for her electrifying storytelling, fashionable presence, and sparkling humor. But Florence still remembers a time when things were very different. As a 13-year-old girl, she felt so plain, she feared she’d blend right into the peeling paint-covered walls of the depression-era apartment she shared with her parents and younger brothers.
Back then, she wore only drab-colored clothing. "If you only have a few dresses," her mother advised, "they should be so colorless and nondescript that people won’t notice you’re wearing the same thing all the time." This was sensible advice from a woman who’d worked 24 hours a day to pull her family through the Great Depression in a blue-collar New England town...but for Florence, it just wasn’t good enough. "Never again," Florence resolved, "was I going to be unnoticed."
At 14, she made herself a list of goals:
- Get educated;
- Get money;
- Get clothes;
- Get popular;
- Get married;
Ten whirlwind years later—after earning a B.A. in English, buying herself a beautiful wardrobe, marrying a wealthy businessman named Fred Littauer in a Cinderella wedding covered by LIFE Magazine, and moving to New York—it seemed she’d achieved every goal on her list! But she still wasn’t happy. Post-honeymoon life revealed the fact that energetic, scatterbrained Florence and fastidious, pragmatic Fred had very little in common. Years later, Florence’s insights on their apparent mismatch would inspire her bestsellers After Every Wedding Comes a Marriage and Personality Plus.
Attempting to "revive her flagging marriage," Florence gave birth to two daughters and a son. But at six months of age, her youngest boy was pronounced "hopelessly brain-damaged" and institutionalized. He died two years later. In their grief, Florence and Fred conceived again, but their second son was affected with the same mysterious brain disorder, and was also institutionalized.
It was during the next dark years that Florence asked Christ into her heart. She later reflected, "I had to admit defeat and reach out to Jesus, who provided the transforming power I had looked for all my life." The story of how God not only saved Florence and Fred, but transformed their marriage into a remarkable platform for ministry, can be found in Florence’s hilarious, bittersweet autobiography, I’ve Found My Keys, Now Where’s My Car.
In addition to her autobiography, Florence is the author of several books including Personality Plus for Couples, Personality Plus for Parents, It Takes So Little to be Above Average, Setting the Stage for Your Child's Faith, Personality Puzzle, and Behind the Personality: the Story of My Life. Her book Your Personality Tree has also been translated into Spanish.
Today, Florence is the president of CLASS Speakers, Inc. She and Fred live in Palm Springs, California, and keep busy with an extensive speaking and writing schedule. They have three grown children.
(Quotes are excerpted from I’ve Found My Keys, Now Where’s My Car.)