Carolyn Jourdan is a former U.S.
Senate Counsel to the Committee
on Environment and Public Works
and the Committee on
Governmental Affairs (now
Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs). She has
degrees from the University of
Tennessee in Biomedical
Engineering and Law. She lives
on the family farm in East Knox
County, Tennessee, and has seven
stray animals (four dogs and
three cats). Heart In The
Right Place takes place over
the course of a year in the
early 1990s when her life
changed dramatically when her
mother, Elise Jourdan, had a
heart attack and had to be
hospitalized, and Carolyn
returned to East Tennessee to
help her father, Dr Paul
Jourdan, in his Strawberry
Plains medical practice.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Jourdan wrote Heart In The Right Place as a gift for her dad. As children, Carolyn and her brother David spent a lot of time in their father's office but it took coming home as an adult for her to realize the choice her father had made in serving the rural community of Strawberry Plains. Dr Paul was a true general practitioner, whatever the injury or illness he dealt with it himself, and often for free and, being the only doctor for miles around, he was also on call day and night.
"I got the idea to do public service from Momma and Daddy, but I thought they did it their way, and I was going to do it a lot bigger. So I went to Washington ... You get to dress real good, eat real good and live real good, but you don't actually see any people. It's public service from 500 miles away. The thing about Washington is you think you're a public servant, but you're not sure. But here, you know that you did something. There's a reward because there is an actual human being there. In the end, that's what I was most proud of doing."
Carolyn was prompted to begin
collecting the funny stories
about patients she'd heard all
her life after reading All
Creatures Great and Small by
James Herriot in 1972. She says,
"I laughed and laughed until I
was sick. And I thought, 'This
is like Daddy's office except we
have people instead of animals.'
And I wished so bad that I could
write something like that one
day that could make other people
laugh like I did."
When she began working with her father she started to jot down stories on the back of napkins in her lunch breaks.
The medical office closed in 2001 after 40 years of service to the Strawberry Plains area. Carolyn's mother, Elise, now spends much of her time working on genealogy projects and has written more than 30 books about Colonial American families. Paul still sees occasional patients, mostly the menagerie of animals on the Jourdans' East Knox County farm.
Carolyn now works as a writer and webmaster for the Great Smoky Mountains Association, a nonprofit education and publications partner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She chose to stay in East Tennessee to be with her parents and because she felt her "glitzy" life in Washington, D.C., didn't fit her anymore.
Her resume also lists her as the Founder and Director of the Nuclear Waste Documentary Project, a nonprofit scientific organization that produces educational materials on nuclear waste issues for public television, museums, and schools.
This article was originally published in August 2007, and has been updated for the
August 2008 paperback release.
Click here to go to this issue.
This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.
Discover your next great read here
Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.
Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.