Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jordena Flood Green - Part 3

O.K., where did we leave off yesterday? Jordena Flood, born in 1911 in the small mining town of Globe Arizona, of apparently humble parentage, is suddenly jet-setting around the world and staying at the world's finest 5-star hotels.

Image of Globe, Arizona courtesy of
She is single and in her twenties. It would appear that her mother gave birth to her and her brother out of wedlock, but later married a man who worked as a house painter and became their stepfather. Oh, and look what I found:

So, Jordena's father was a railroad conductor! That and being born in a town called Globe must have predestined her to become a world traveler. Since this ruins my theory about her rich father and a trust fund though, the source of her traveling funds remains a mystery.

If Jordena had taken a job as a maid or a waitress it would have made sense given the circumstances, but for her to be suddenly spending money like an heiress is very odd. Jordena's family had moved to Los Angeles by the time she was 9 years old. Did she make a fortune acting in movies? If so, it was under a different name. 

The ships' registers indicate that her travels between the ages of 24 and 30 were always first class, and generally for months at a time.  At the age of 29, she moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco. At the age of 30, she married Martin I. Green, a doctor at Green's Eye Hospital. Here's a picture of Green's Eye Hospital.

The hospital later became the San Francisco Eye and Ear Hospital and then Cathedral Hill Medical Center. After this point, it's hard to know if Jordena's travels were financed with her husband's money or hers. Their first trip appears to be in January, 1941, and included visits to Australia and Hawaii. Unfortunately, Jordena's husband died within four years, at the age of 46.  As far as I can tell, they didn't have any children and she didn't remarry. She did continue to travel though.

Jordena also moved a lot and I'm not sure why. Back in the 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s, people didn't move nearly as much as they do today. Jordena was an exception. While her addresses were always decent ones--on Nob Hill or in Pacific Heights--they were never exceptional or particularly elite. Perhaps it was because she focused on travel.

Here are some of her San Francisco addresses. I think there are a few more.

536 Stockton Street
485 California Street (which seems to be very much in the Financial District)
1201 California Street
1801 Bush Street
1750 Vallejo Street
630 Mason Street, #1201
1400 Geary Blvd, Apt# 2001 (This appears to be an assisted living facility)

There is also an address listed for San Clemente, California and Laguna Woods, California (Leisure World.) I have the sense that she went there to retire, but decided that she missed San Francisco and returned.

Jordena Flood Green died on April 21, 2001 in San Francisco. She must have had so many stories to tell. I'm sorry I never met her and had a chance to hear about her trip to Libya and her stay at the famous Hotel Casinò Uaddan or the trips to Italy, Spain, Singapore, or Egypt.

All the same, I am thankful to her for the suitcases, which document her travels and after all of these years still smell of her perfume.


  1. Very interesting story - one masterpiece. Sometimes the things are telling to us about the people whom we don't know, but their lives are very interesting.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. I'm wondering if she was working as a lady's companion, and that's how she was traveling? I'm thinking of the old Agatha Christie mysteries, in which there always seemed to be a rich old lady traveling to exotic places with her young hired companion.

  3. Very, very interesting.....she was lucky to be able to see so much of the world and in such style!

  4. This has been a fascinating series and I bet she is pleased to be remembered on her 100th. I wondered too whether she might be a travelling companion, are there any clues on the passenger lists that she may be travelling with someone else?

  5. Hmm, Lady's Companion, that sounds like a job for me! I did look for recurring names on the ships' registers, but I may have missed it anyway. Would it be typical for a Lady's Companion to travel in first class?

  6. You've taken us on a fascinating journey here! Any chance that she was a private nurse? They often traveled with their patients.

    I'm off to check out the first two posts in this series!

  7. This is a very interesting post. I find it amazing the amount of things you did fine and it also is frustrating to have a lot of blank pages of information. I am glad I logged on to your site.

  8. They Don't Put Labels on Suitcases Any More..which is a shame.
    I Am Really Jealous Of Her Travel! Lucky Lass!

  9. I think we should all join in toasting such a woman's life. I have to wonder if she wasn't "courted" as they said back then all those years she first began to travel while being courted by Mr. (doctor) Green before they married.....and a thought about Richard Flood's mother maybe, or grandmother that maybe really showered her with trips and or money since Jordena's father never seemed to make things right with her mother.....what ever, the truth may be, it's got to remain a very interesting story, one that should out live her perfume, and that as you say is still living on...this is the kind of book I'd fine very thrilling....!

  10. What a treasure of information.
    Like that one in B&W (Green's eye hospital)

  11. Fascinating! I am wondering if maybe she were a private nurse? That could explain the first class travel, the modest accommodation between engagements and being in the right circle to marry a doctor...

  12. I'm also wondering about the lady's companion/maid/nurse idea. It's a pity that the passenger lists are in alphabetical order rather than showing groups of travellers. Thanks for the posts - I love a mystery :-)

  13. I'm checking back to see if there's any more news on Jordena and her travels :)
    Did she travel to England during that time? Why I ask is that you may find her (and whoever she was travelling with) on the incoming passenger lists (which I don't think are alphabetical)and some of these lists also have an address for the destination. I don't know if these lists exist for other countries she visited.

  14. Lisa,
    Thanks for checking back. Great idea. There was at least one record I saw of a ship departing from Plymouth. Unfortunately, won't let me view the 'foreign' records unless I pay more. I couldn't bring myself to do it just for this.

  15. What a fun little speculative journey this has been! I have to think there is someone or some people out there with the answers to the riddles. I guess it is a matter of finding them.

  16. Christine, I was able to find a little more info on Jordena today, she arrived in Plymouth, England on Aug 26 1952 (travelling as Jordena Green), on the ship Ile de France, travelling 1st class (her age is given as 40 in the column 'Not accompanied by Husband or wife.'
    Proposed address in England is given as Park Lane, London;
    Occupation: Secretary.

    So there is a little bit more info on her.
    I haven't been able to find a record of her leaving the UK after that trip, I'm wondering that if she travelled to Europe, then there wouldn't be a passenger record like these long distance records.

  17. Thanks Lisa!
    Jordena would have been widowed by then. I would guess that her address on Park Lane was probably one of the elegant hotels. You're right that many of her passenger records don't exist because she would have been traveling within Europe...or Asia...or Africa. It's interesting that she was still making trips by ship in 1950. I wonder what sort of a secretary she was. Her employer must not have been in any hurry to get from place to place. I found another reference to her as a secretary--at the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair, which seems very appropriate for her.

  18. There is another, but very much less attractive,
    possibility. I deal in vintage luggage and I have seen hotel labels stuck on suitcases and other luggage that was not there originaly.
    I know this because the luggage is not as old as the hotels that are mentioned on the labels.
    So a hotel (label) that went out of business due to the war in Europe but still found on a 1950's Samsonite suitcase.
    Some of the labels on your suitcases make me suspect this practice.

  19. Thanks, I have also seen that. While it is always possible, there are lots of records showing that Jordena did in fact travel a lot. The suitcases, Hartmann not Samsonite, were made in the 1940s and 50s. I'm not sure which hotels were out of business, because most I checked are still in business today!



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