Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Mysterious Life of Jordena F. Green - Part 2

Happy Birthday, Jordena.
Yesterday, I posted some pictures of Jordena Greens' suitcases and a little of what I found out about her travels.  But who was Jordena, and how did she afford this lifestyle of luxury travel to Europe, Africa and the Orient?

I thought there might be a hint in her maiden name. Jordena was born Jordena Flood on December 20, 1911. I immediately thought of the wealthy Flood family, the family that owned these two mansions in San Francisco.
Photos: seesdifferent.wordpress.com

But then I saw that Jordena was born in Globe, Arizona, an old mining town that currently has a population of under 8,000. That seemed strange until I was reminded that the Flood family made their fortune in mining. Still, wouldn't the society wives of rich influential men stay at home in the city rather than roughing it in a dusty mining town? Wouldn't they prefer to give birth to their children in a city hospital with all the amenities?

Whatever the case, I could not find a definitive link between Jordena and the James. L. Flood of the white mansion above. James L. married twice and had two children, James and Mary Emma (born in 1900 and 1908.)

Here's where it gets interesting. Jordena could have been born into an unrelated Flood family, but it would have to be a Flood family with a fair amount of money to afford her lavish lifestyle. The most interesting tidbit of information comes from the 1920 US census, which shows Jordena (age 9) living in Los Angeles with her mother Jennie Kaleb, her stepfather John Kaleb, and her brother, Richard. A. Flood, age 10.  John Kaleb's occupation is listed as 'house painter.' Hmm. Just imagine how many houses John Kaleb would have had to paint to finance his stepdaughter's travels.

Here's one possibility, although it is pure speculation. Jordena's mother Jennie was a waitress or a secretary working in Globe, Arizona. Perhaps James L. Flood was there and took a shine to her. She bore two of his children, but they certainly couldn't get married, because he was already married.  And besides that, she probably was not a society girl. Although James L. Flood had mentioned another illegitimate daughter to his wife, a child who actually lived with them, it is unlikely that he would want to mention the existence of two more.

The illegitimate daughter who lived with the Flood family, Constance May, filed a paternity suit after James L. Flood's death to gain her share of the inheritance. I don't think Jordena did anything like that, but she may have had a trust fund set up in her name, perhaps one that she could access once she reached the age of 21. We may never know, but the money had to come from somewhere.

All this from a set of luggage! If she hadn't left an address label on the case, and a tag inside, I would never have guessed what the initials J.F.G. stood for.

The story isn't quite over. Come back tomorrow to find out about Jordena's marriage.


  1. I'm loving this series, Christine. Well done on your research - looking forward to the next part. Jo

  2. Oh I am so eager to hear the rest. I actually checked your posts late last night just in case you had already posted the second part. I'm still wondering if it wasn't her speciality in writing, (work related at some degree) or maybe like so many women did back then, she had a very rich suitor? These are the kinds of adventures that thrill me....hanging on the edge of my seat until tomorrow! Oh yeah and did you bake a cake in her honor?!!!

  3. How interesting! Loving this story....and the mystery continues....

  4. Oh no, I have to wait until tomorrow to find out the rest?! Oh, Christine, you are cruel.

  5. This was when travelling was stylish and glamorous (at least if you were rich). No waiting in airport lounges, being searched as you board a sardine can plane, eating a cardboard meal from a plastic tray. This was ocean liners, fabulous foreign trips to exotic places, luxury and flunkies looking after you, just like out of a Hercule Poirot novel. Heaven.

  6. Karen, I didn't bake a cake, but maybe we'll toast her with a glass of champagne tonight.

  7. Most interesting sleuthing on your part, and an entertaining read on our part! There has to be people out there with the answers to this woman's life, but knowing it in the concrete could be a bit of a letdown. I'm thinking we all our filling in the story with a little personal color.

  8. I am reading these backwards so it makes it interesting to start and the front and work back. This is a lot of fun.

  9. You better emulate Jordena, than a bra-ve Himba carrie(r)-under-wood. Hotels and desserts are nicer than deserts.



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