Chloe JonPaul – WOMAN of ACTION™

A Celebration of Women™ 

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this power of example of rising above being a victim;

and is here now to help the Women of our World to develop that ‘knowing’ of What Life is Really All About!

WOMAN of ACTION™ 

 

Chloe JonPaul

My name is Chloe JonPaul and I’m from Bowie, Maryland which is in the Washington, D.C. metro area. I recently celebrated my 75th birthday and I’m having the best time of my life!

I was a teacher for 35 years, having taught elementary and middle school, Adult Ed, and job readiness skills to inmates ready for parole. Upon retirement, I told the world: “I’m retiring from a job – not life!

… and that’s when my magnificent odyssey began.

I married at the age of twenty-eight; had my first child at the age of thirty-two and my second one at thirty-four – which, back in the late 60’s was considered “old” with regard to child-bearing. My husband died in 1996 at the age of 64 from prostate cancer.

My children and grandchildren are important to me but my life doesn’t revolve around them. I also enjoy an extended family with my church group and Secular Carmelite community to which I belong. My faith is of paramount importance to me.

I’ve been asked what I consider to be my best personal attributes and I would have to answer that flexibility, humor, and a willingness to help others are three qualities I have been blessed with, but there are some areas that need a bit of tweaking: for example, family members often accuse me of being “the drama queen” when I relate an incident that has happened to me but don’t furnish enough details. This has generally involved medical information.

Early Beginnings

I was born in Baltimore, MD. I am of Italian descent and we lived as an extended family in my grandparents’ large rowhouse in East Baltimore. My grandfather was the patriarch whose opinions and orders were never disputed by anyone.

My father had a dream of being a farmer – chicken and egg man, as he liked to describe it so we eventually moved to a farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country. I completed first grade at a public school in East Berlin, PA where, besides learning the three R’s, I learned the effects of discrimination first-hand. Some of the kids began calling me “Dago- Wop”, a derogatory term for Italians and one little boy ripped my dress right down the front. My teacher, Ms. Wenz, did her best to comfort me and I remember her sewing up my dress. This experience served me well many years later.

Things didn’t work out for my father, however, and we moved back to the city after a terrible storm ruined all the crops.

Once back at my grandparents’ house, I was enrolled at Our Lady of Pompei School at my grandmother’s insistence. I completed eighth grade, attended one year of junior high at a school I detested – I actually ran away from home because I was so unhappy – and eventually went to Eastern High School for Girls, a public high school which we girls fondly referred to as Ms. Zouck’s Finishing School.

I was always expected to do well in school and help at home. We were very poor but I didn’t realize just how poor we were until I started going cross town to Eastern High and began seeing how the other half lived. It didn’t however; interfere with my popularity and accomplishments at school.

World War II was being fought during my childhood and I still have vivid memories of listening to the news on the radio, the blackouts, air raid drills, and using the ration books at the grocery store. I especially remember visiting the Italian prisoners of war at Ft. Meade with my grandmother. She went on a regular basis, bringing them home-cooked meals and other things they were allowed to have.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when victory was declared.

Every summer I would visit my aunt and uncle in a small town outside of Pittsburgh. Since they never had a daughter, you can imagine how they spoiled me! I spent several weeks with them every year until my seventeenth year.

As a teenager during the 50’s, I can honestly say that it was indeed “Happy Days” as portrayed in that now-forgotten sitcom. Yes, we did sit in booths at the local store, sipping milkshakes and listening to our favorite records being played on the juke box. The Korean War was being fought and two of my older friends were drafted. I wrote to both of them and one of them came home in time to take me to my senior prom.

In thinking about my mother as a role model, I want to first of all say that I admired her for her love of education. Because of the Depression, she had to quit school and go to work in a factory. She did, however, go to night school much later in life and got her high school diploma at the age of 55. She later attended a community college in Harford County and distinguished herself there as well. She was an artist and loved to paint. Her art work, done after she was admitted to a nursing home, is on the cover of my first book.

I remember how, one year when she needed a new winter coat, she did without in order to buy us kids a set of encyclopedias. She was, however, a little too submissive to everyone and put up with stuff that women today wouldn’t dream of allowing to happen. I do believe that I grew to be the strong woman I am today because of what I witnessed as a youngster.

As a young girl, I dreamed of doing two things – quite polarized, actually. I would pore through geography and history books, gazing at all the magnificent places of antiquity throughout the world and I would say to myself: Someday I’m going to see the real thing! I don’t know how or when – but I will!

My second dream was to become a Carmelite nun but that didn’t happen because the priest who was counseling me talked me out of it. He convinced me to join the Order of teaching nuns at my school so I did after graduating high school but I didn’t last there because I still yearned for the cloister. It took me years to figure out why things turned out the way they did but I can truthfully say that I know now that I was in a particular place, at a particular time, for a particular reason ~ by God’s unfathomable designs.

Thanks to my parents and grandparents, I had a strong work ethic. Even as a youngster, I would go around the neighborhood asking the women if I could clean their bathroom or scrub their kitchen floor in order to earn a few cents so I could save up and buy something my parents couldn’t afford to give me. At thirteen, I was already working part-time at a hospital as a nurse’s aide for 75 cents an hour. Before graduating high school, I worked as a telephone operator for a company that took calls for businesses.

My career as a teacher began in the community of teaching nuns I had joined. I began my studies with them and later completed studies for my Bachelor’s degree at the College of Notre Dame. I then went on to get my Masters at Morgan State U, did post-graduate studies at Towson U and even tinkered with the idea of getting a Ph.D. until I realized it was simply an ego trip on my part. I wanted to remain in the classroom and had no intention of becoming an administrator. A PhD wasn’t going to make me a better teacher.

I began to suffer from depression in my late 30’s and it became quite severe by the time I hit 45. Doctors told me that I would be on Prozac for the rest of my life – and I thought: Yeah! When pigs fly! It took me a long time to come to grips with this debilitating condition but as I did more and more research on how serotonin works in the brain and how that level can be raised by alternative methods, I put my action plan to work. I also sought the help of a good therapist, a licensed clinical social worker who helped me work through the issues I was dealing with. I discovered that one doesn’t need a psychiatrist to deal with depression.

It is, however, essential to follow an action plan and to be consistent with taking herbal remedies without abusing them. Too much of a good thing can be just as bad or worse as doing nothing at all.

My dream of traveling the world began in 1966 with a solo trip to Europe that lasted nearly six weeks. I toured seven countries on my own. My husband and I traveled to Egypt in 1980. Since then, I’ve been to China, S. Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Palestine, South America: Chile, Peru, Argentina, The Falkland Islands, S. Georgia, and Antarctica. I had made it my personal goal to set foot on all seven continents before I leave this world – and that was finally accomplished in 2005.

My dream of becoming a Carmelite was finally fulfilled in a way that I never expected – in a way that God in His infinite wisdom had planned for me. During my trip to the Holy Land in 2007, I visited Mt. Carmel, the place where Elijah the prophet had lived. Monastic life actually began there and the Carmelites consider Elijah to be their spiritual follower. I was filled with a feeling of premonition – that something was about to happen – but I didn’t know what it could be.

After that, we went to Cana and again, I had this sensation that some kind of change was taking place and I distinctly remember hearing the words “Do whatever He tells you” – the very words Mary spoke to the wine stewards at the wedding feast when all the wine had run out. Later in the pilgrimage, our guide, Fr. Jan, took us on an unexpected visit to a Carmelite Monastery in Bethlehem where Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified had lived. She was a little Arab girl who had converted to Catholicism and then became a Carmelite nun.

The young woman giving us a tour brought us into a room where Blessed Mary’s belongings were kept. The woman opened a closet, took out the cloak that Blessed Mary had worn as a nun – and put it around my shoulders. At that point, I almost fainted!

I returned home from the trip and a couple of weeks later, I found myself doing a Google search for Carmelite and discovered the Third Order Carmelites, a secular branch of men and women living in the world but following the Carmelite Rule.

I was stunned because I had never heard of them in the past. Needless to say, I contacted the Washington, D.C. community – and the rest is history! I finally understood the why and how of everything that has transpired in my life … and I have finally learned to pray not for what I think I want, but for what I need – and the wisdom to recognize it to be in my best interests.

In attempting to tie the past and present together in a meaningful way, I can simply conclude that I’ve come “full circle”. As I stated earlier, I truly believe that I was in a particular place, at a particular time, for a particular reason. Hindsight always tends to be 20-20! Everyone who has entered my life – good or bad, has provided me with an opportunity to learn something new: about myself, the world at large – lessons that are sometimes mastered at the School of Hard Knocks.

I have come to value my dignity and serenity most of all. As a facilitator in the conflict resolution program at the prison, I used to tell inmates that even though everything else had been taken away from them, no one could take away their dignity and serenity – unless they allowed it.

My philosophy of life evolved through the years and is best articulated in the words of A.G. Gaston, a prominent businessman who played a pioneering role in the South.

His words: “find a need and fill it”have shaped my life and resolve to make a difference in some way in my little part of the world.

One of my favorite sayings is:

‘A woman wrapped up in herself

… makes a very small package’.

I’ve known quite a few women like this and they are anything but happy and content. If the only things a woman has on her agenda are the next shopping excursion at the mall, getting her nails done, or scheduling the next trip to have her hair done, she is in a sorry state of affairs.On the other hand, I know dozens of women who are making a difference in so many magnificent ways and I salute them for their fine contributions.When asked about what I consider to be my triumphs,most people expect me to provide them with a laundry list of accomplishments mentioned in my bio but I don’t really looks at them as triumphs. Yes, I have done some exciting things – perhaps more things than many people even dream about doing but that is not where my triumph lies.

My answer is this: I believe that my greatest triumphs are having overcome depression, learning to celebrate the real me, and living each day to the max.

These triumphs have come about through learning certain lessons in and about life. I think that one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is being able to come to terms with how and why my life has turned the way it has. The second greatest lesson has been learning how to forgive – others and myself. The third one is having learned to accept mistakes and set-backs as a perfect opportunity to learn something from them.

Growth and change follow us throughout our lives and any woman who resists is in for a lot of unnecessary heartache. I am not the woman I was 40 or 50 years ago, nor do I care to be. I have embraced aging with style and grace and I welcome the opportunity to share the wisdom I have gained through the years with younger women.

When the term success is used, people tend to think in terms of fame and fortune. Neither one appeals to me. What I consider success for me is having made a difference in someone’s life, completing a difficult project such as writing a book, completing the goals I set for myself.

In order to achieve that success, there are six steps I consider crucial:
 Having a daily, weekly, and long-term plan
 Writing an action plan to define exactly what I hope to accomplish
 Journaling daily
 Networking
 Being consistent
 Exercising self-discipline

Why is Peace Such a Dirty Word? – VIDEO ONLINE ONLY
PART 1

My words of wisdom to other women can best be summed up with a quote I keep posted on my refrigerator.
It is attributed to Alfred Souza, an Australian inspiration writer and philosopher. He writes:

Dance as though no one is watching you.
Love as though you have never been hurt before.
Sing as though no one can hear you.
Live as though heaven is on earth
.”

 

And I’ll add: “Think seriously about the legacy you want to leave to others. Above all, learn to like yourself. I can assure you that the best is yet to come! “

Over the years I had written and had published several pieces in magazines and newspapers but I began writing seriously shortly before my retirement.

At the moment, I have two non-fiction books, one published novel, a children’s book about a little girl who hates her name that should be published later this year, and another manuscript on the back burner entitled The Untold Story of the Alphabet.

My other non-fiction title is What Happens Next: A Family Guide to Nursing Home Visits …and More.

*** KINDLE VERSION

My first book led to appearances around the United States, appearing on two Retirement Living Shows, and being asked to serve on two advisory boards for the State of Maryland’s Dept. of Aging.

THIS BUSINESS OF CHILDREN, Chloe JonPaul

Set in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine during the mid-1980s, this novel is a blend of ironies: private emotions and public scrutiny; personal desires and professional predicaments. While the title mentions the word children, this book is definitely not kid stuff! The title evolves from the Prologue and the Epilogue. The four main characters are elementary school teachers whose personal and professional lives become significantly changed in a single academic year.Vera is a middle-aged, dowdy but dedicated teacher who is ready for retirement. She has never been one to question established practices. She has always faithfully paid her union dues; preferring to let others take the lead in bettering the profession.What causes Vera to vent her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet?Dee is thirty-something – a sophisticated newcomer to the Blevins District school system. She arrives there with a history of political and union activism she’d sooner leave behind but somehow can’t. Reluctantly, she becomes a key player in the Blevins Teachers Association’s fight for change in an arena where change was thought to be impossible.She is a sexy lover who admits to not knowing how to love with her heart. She does, however, possess extraordinary compassion for her students and a colleague whose secret she alone shares.

  • What makes Dee quit her job with such dramatic flair?
  • Why does this gifted teacher leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South?

Next, there’s Mark who feels trapped in a marriage and a job which have lost their luster. He is the perennial job hunter who scours the Boston Globe’s employment ads week after week, vowing that his resume will eventually land him a position with prestige and more pay.

Mark becomes easy prey for Dee and succumbs to an illicit relationship he feels powerless to stop.

  • What compels Mark to turn down the perfect job offer when it finally comes through?
  • What makes him decide to stay?

Stu is easily one of the most popular teachers at school. Although he is the butt of Mark’s snide remarks at times, Stu is well liked by students, parents, and staff because he is such a caring teacher. Stu is a closet homosexual who finally confides in Dee when his lover Jeremy dies of AIDS.

Devastated by the earlier loss of his mother and now Jeremy, he finds solace in the tiny back room of his house where he keeps a magnificent collection of antique lamps. That room takes on a special significance toward the end of the story.

At a time when gay men across America are frantically queuing up to be tested for the virus, Stu is resistant to the idea until Dee convinces him to go “for the sake of the children”.

  • What causes Stu’s untimely death if it isn’t AIDS?
  • What causes near rebellion among the staff against the school superintendent and the Board of Education after Stu’s death?

If the questions raised here have sparked a curiosity, then perhaps a full dose of This Business of Children is the next logical step. Vera Harriss, Dee Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are waiting to make your acquaintance.

BOOK ON AMAZON

FIND BOOK HERE

My many achievements since the age of 55 include:

  • Title of Ms. Maryland Senior America 200
  • Recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship Seminars Abroad award to South Africa, 1996
  • Volunteer internship during the 2005 Maryland legislative session as a Legacy Leadership Institute graduate
  • Lead facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison and community workshops on conflict resolution for ten years
  • State representative for the National Family Caregivers Association’s caregiver community action network 2006-2008
  • Advisory board member: MD, Healthcare Commission and the Interagency Commission for Aging Services: Maryland Dept. of Aging
  • Hospice and homeless shelter volunteer
  • Coordinator for the Good Samaritan Project at her church
  • World traveler – all 7 continents

Entering the Age of Elegance, Chloe JonPaul

Thanks to Chloe Jon Paul, women finally have a practical guide to planning their fabulous journey into their Age of Elegance.

Pack your bag and travel wisely and well as a maturing modern woman. You won’t find a better road map anywhere to help you through the sometimes confusing labyrinth of second adulthood.

Give this book to friends, family, and even the men in your life. Let them travel with you. You will be glad you did.”

 

 

-Dr. Dorree Lynn, Psychologist, Media Personality, Founder/Editor of www.FiftyandFurthermore.com

Thirty-eight million baby boomer women have already entered the Age of Elegance, which is a new stage of life with a new identity. More will follow; yet many of these 40+ women are making this journey without any real advance planning. Many of them don’t even think of themselves as ‘elegant’ but this transition into the second half of their lives can take place with style and grace.

 

 

A Celebration of Women™ 

welcomes this voice of elegance into our Alumni of WOMEN of ACTION with open arms and thanks her for paying forward her experience, strength and vision with the Women of our World.

 

Brava Chloe!

 

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