Karen Chadwick

Karen Chadwick


Website: http://karen-chadwick.blogspot.com

   kalamazoo, 49006

I've won a State award for beginning a citizens group to give MLK Park near the Amtrak station some much needed dignity. On April 14, 2015, I'll receive a Community Service Award from the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association in Lansing. We'll love your interest to follow our work via email, and we'll LOVE your help! Contact me! Did you know art authorites consider our MLK sculpture one of the best? We park together, work together, depart together and go for coffee or a wee drinkie to chat up what went right, what went wrong, and to get to know each other. Leather garden gloves very important! We pick up strange stuff!

My legacy in Kalamazoo includes being the first massage therapist to start a business, Featherstone Massage Service, in 1975 at the new indoor mall in downtown Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Center Inn. Shortly the Hilton became owners of the hotel as they partnered with the City of Kalamazoo with the building usage. With several excellent independent contractors we introduced quality massage therapy to this town. Featherstone operated at the Hilton from 1975 to 1988. Time points to this: the Hilton and City were not good partners, the building had serious problems, and we, who love Kalamazoo, owe a great deal the people and resources who now operate the Radisson Hotel.

Subsequently, in 1995, I started a new career in a fascinating historic town on the banks of the Wabash River in southern Indiana as I became private secretary to one of the wealthiest women in the world, Jane Blaffer Owen. I've completed a non-fiction book about this interesting time, and now seek a publisher. Adjoining this profile is a photo of me and Mrs. Owen, a truly impressive woman with over 60 years of New Harmony, Indiana development including sacred site artistic creation, historic preservation, vast gardens, an Inn, restaurants, a world class bookstore, a patron of the arts and much more. For example, she commissioned world renouwned architect Philip Johnson to make a  roofless church! She was a gorilla with a bottomless checkbook. Her private life was harsh, her public life was all smiles. I had the pleasure to be her social companion 14 hrs. a day, 7 days a week. She entertained visitors from around the world with her extraordinary hostess acumen and with the help of 160 employees!

                                                      The Other Woman
                                    Private Secretary to a Daughter of Exxon Oil


                                                       Karen Chadwick

Here is an intimate memoir of the private secretary to an extraordinarily wealthy citizen of the 20th century, Jane Blaffer Owen, a daughter of oil money from both parents and a grande dame of Houston, Texas. She was also a developer, art patron, largest property owner, hostess extraordinaire, and businesswoman with 160 employees in a historic town on the banks of the Wabash River. Additionally, she was a wife, mother, grandmother, Episcopalian, and Republican with immense power in many circles of American culture. She was old oil money and made a point to snub new oil money Barbara Bush for a passionate cause. The “other woman” image shifts to one woman of wealth and power versus another woman with gumption to stand in the face of power.

The Other Woman opens with a letter to Chadwick’s granddaughter with a simple introduction to the legendary town, New Harmony, Indiana, and the troubled, volatile family who “Granny” grappled with. The scene changes to a frank woman-to-woman account. Join two friends at a local brewpub, Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There, while enjoying good beer and fine art, Chadwick recounts her life, loves, 14-hour workdays and party nights for over six years.

The real-life fairy tale has elements of human spirituality and frailty, from the in-depth depiction of the powerful employer’s best traits to the evil characters who wrought havoc on underlings. Readers see how Chadwick, a wounded massage therapist, turned into a valued assistant. And yes, she did have opportunity to become “the other woman.” Did she?