WINTERSVILLE - Mary M. Paice thinks people should keep an open mind when they read her newly published book entitled "A Life of Love with Madam Judy Jordan."
And not stand in judgment of others.
"I wrote the book for people to understand that we - whether we believe it or not - we do not have the right to judge others for how they have to live their lives," she said. "We do not have all the facts. Sometimes it is a personal choice, and sometimes others choose our lives for us, and we have no choice or the ability to free ourselves. Days, weeks, months and years pass with each moment us thinking 'I'll get out,' but somehow we don't make it, so we make the best of each situation as it arises," Paice said.
AUTHOR — “A Life of Love with Madam Judy Jordan” is the title of Wintersville resident Mary M. Paice’s newly published book based on the life of the Steubenville woman. Her motive in writing the book, according to the disclaimer printed in it, was “the hope that the reader would understand that we should not judge anyone for the way they live their lives. We may have opinions, but we usually do not have all the facts to make judgments. My hope is that others understand that (young) people sometimes have choices made for them, and they have to live their lives accordingly.”
-- Janice R. Kiaski
The book has been an ongoing project for the Wintersville woman over the past eight years, partly because of research, partly because of procrastination.
But now that it's finished and has been available since mid-July through word-of-mouth, the initial reaction has been of the "Whoa!" "Really interesting" feedback variety, which comes as no shock, apparently, as she anticipates people will have "many varied opinions and thoughts."
Locally, copies are available at Historic Fort Steuben Visitors Center gift shop, the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, M&M True Value Hardware in Steubenville or by contacting Paice by e-mail at email@example.com. The cost is $20 - $25 if mailed.
Paice, who is available for book signings and public speaking engagements, said that Jordan's name was one she had heard before.
"In the early 1960s, I had heard that Miss Judy ran a house (of prostitution) on Water Street (in Steubenville) and that her girls were known for being 'clean.' I heard nothing good, nor bad, just interesting talk - bits and pieces - just enough to make me, as a teenager, wonder what type of person she could be," Paice said.
Paice met Jordan by chance at a nursing home in 2005 when Paice and her dog were visiting other residents and staff there, a place Paice had been herself during periods of recovery from adult implications from childhood polio. It made her want to get to know "the real lady and not the one that become internationally known as the madam from Steubenville, Ohio," Paice wrote in initial author thoughts she penned.
Paice said the two engaged in chit-chat at that initial meeting, including their shared Libra horoscope sign and Paice's hobby - writing. Jordan told Paice that people had encouraged her to write down things about her life but that she hadn't the time. Jordan asked Paice to make a return visit, which she did.
"After a few more visits, she could see that I was sincere about the person and not the madam. She felt that her story should be told, so she asked me to write it saying, 'I trust you,'" Paice shared with the Herald-Star.
Paice said there were many visits.
"I didn't stay for long periods of time as I didn't want to tire her. However, a lot of information was gathered especially when we were on an 'I-remember-when visit.' Some of the visits she let me tape, because of the information we had to cover quickly, those things that she definitely wanted in the story. She also mentioned where I could find this or that type of information. I talked with many, many, many people," she said.
"When I had asked her what she thought the title should be, she gazed briefly into space, with her head turned away from me and almost without hesitation said, 'A Life of Love With Madam Judy Jordan,'" Paice noted. "She had told me 'I'll tell you anything you want to know. Some of it is good, and some of it is not so good.'"
Paice said Jordan was easy to talk to and a good listener. Asked what did she learn about Jordan in the course of writing the book, Paice responded, "She was a kind, considerate, caring, giving and generous person, and that was confirmed over and over by everyone I spoke her name to, in my numerous interviews," she noted.
"Not one person that personally knew her had a bad word to say about her. And those that knew of her simply said they had heard the name or they heard that she did a lot of good things for children and for people she really didn't know."
Paice said the book is based on Jordan's life and in her disclaimer she writes ... "therefore names, characters, places, and incidents were gathered by me through my contact either with the individuals, Miss Judy, public records or Underground people. Some of the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of my imagination or are used fictitiously. However, I feel the events, feelings, and emotions can and do occur in the type of life Miss Judy lived. My motive to agree to write this book was the hope that the reader would understand that we should not judge anyone for the way they live their lives. We may have opinions but we usually do not have all the facts to make judgments. My hope is that others understand that (young) people sometimes have choices made for them and they have to live their lives accordingly."
Paice said she and Jordan spent "a lot of quality time" together. She said she "got to see her 'heart,' and I understood her genuine kindness and caring for others. I saw her as a warm, thoughtful, human being, who was a superior businesswoman that knew how to get along with people to get the results she wanted and needed for the many different kinds of people that were put in her life."
(Kiaski can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)