S: JEAN'S WORLD - It's A Wonderful Place
BC: JEAN'S WORLD It's a Wonderful Place
FC: Jean's World It's a Wonderful Place
1: You were always there When I felt alone, you gave me support When I laughed, you laughed too When I said, “I can’t”, you said, “You can” When I viewed life one way, you gave me another view When I thought no one cared, you showed up When I was scared, you held my hand You were always there Helping me explore art schools Helping me buy my first new car Helping me buy my first home Helping me through my father’s funeral Helping me towards my dreams Helping me find my way You were always there Giving me many experiences I would have never known Opening my eyes to the world and the joy of travel Encouraging me to treat myself once in awhile Inspiring me to follow my dreams and take a chance Showing me what it means to be a woman of strength, love, integrity, and kindness Jean, there are countless ways you have been by my side since I was fourteen years old. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have you in my life. I am thankful to you a million times over for the times... you were always there. I love you with all my heart. Happy 70th birthday! Love, Diane | Chicago May 2010 | New Years Eve 2009 | Easter 2010 | This book is dedicated to: Jean Cleary for all the love and light you bring to the world Happy 70th Birthday!!
2: One day Jean clicked her heels 3 times and landed in a place far, far, away. When she opened her eyes, she realized she wasn't in Derry, New Hampshire anymore. She found herself gazing upon the most amazing site ...Bloomington, Illinois | Upon her arrival she meet three magical sisters who put her to work managing an unruly kingdom, where unbeknownst to Jean, she would have to use some of her own magical powers. Little did they know... they would be friends for life
3: Three Magical Sisters | My dear friend Jean, During your interview and subsequent hiring process with BNAR my executive committee colleagues flew off to the NAR convention, which left me alone back here to negotiate your contract and fax documents back and forth. Little did any of them know that it was the beginning of a life-long friendship. I have always felt that people are in the right place at the right time, and I know I was meant to go through your BNAR journey with you. The four years of memories I have from my experiences as an executive officer of BNAR are a hand in hand journey with you, of which I am grateful and consider myself the luckiest person in the world, and even greater is the fact that I know you feel the same! Who can ever forget the ‘chick trip’ to Washington DC! You, myself, Tammy, and Lynn and we thought that was going to continue for many years! How things changed and fast! It was you and I and ‘the guys’ from then on, at least we still had each other! We have sat through countless meetings, shared some incredible meals, walked and toured some wonderful cities, and sat all day in the best emergency room in the city of Chicago (and I mean all day!). Regardless of crutches and a full leg immobilizer what a trooper you were! How many women can have a fun handicapped ride up the stairs at Lawry’s Prime Rib restaurant in Chicago, and better yet score excellent seats at a Chicago Bears game! You are truly an inspiration and mentor to me. During the interview process everybody kept wanting to know WHY you wanted to move here. I finally just said, “That is not really ours to ask. She has applied for the job and appears to want it.” I hope that I always have the adventuresome spirit and love of life that you do. You are one of the wisest and smartest people I know. I may move somewhere someday, but I would not want to tackle the job you have had for anything in the world. You have been strong, resilient, savvy, fair, and have performed this job brilliantly. I love you from the bottom of my heart and have a friend for life in you. Happy Birthday and may you have many more that I can share with you! Love, Laurie | Tammy, Laurie, Lynn | There are so many words to describe Jean. The ones that come to my mind are generous, kind, fair, giving, selfless, mentor, beautiful. And that was without even thinking. She has an amazing heart and can see the good in people even when no one else can. My favorite memory of Jean is our time spent together in Washington, D.C. I never laughed so hard on a trip or ate so well (thanks to the French restaurant and amazing seafood). And, for some reason, I can’t get the song “Baa Baa Black Sheep” out of my head. Well, I am a better person since I met her and I know Danny feels the same way. Happy Birthday, Jean. You are loved on this day and every other. ~ Tammy
4: Jim White The Chancellor of Merriment and Goodwill | and things were never quite the same. | It was on one of her days off from ruling the kingdom that she was strolling downtown, soaking up all the sights of the new land, when she bumped into...
5: A Bit of Fairy Dust Called Jean Many of Jean's friends wonder why she is called "Firefly". Whispers that it is a remnant of her strip club days have no validity, nor do rumors of a Chicago mob connection. When we shine the light of truth on Jean's unblemished life she will stand tall in virginal white (white sling pumps) and her detractors will not be admitted to polite society. The story of "Firefly" goes all the way back to sixth grade and sister Gibraltar. The selection process has been lost to history, but Jean was crowned "Miss Bubble Up" this was obviously part of an advertising campaign but still it was a coveted award. Jean, of course, not a bit repressed by her repressive environment, accepted the award wearing nothing but bubbles from her bottle of bubble bath. The nuns were horrified; classmates thrilled and Jean made it to the privacy altar cloth just in time. Some considered the 2,500 "Hail Mary's" a bit severe. Soon after the "Bubble Event" (still discussed by the nuns during poker) Jean's glowing persona landed her the part of "Miss Liberty, Lady of Light" in the school program. Jean decided to spare her parents any information about this part - thoughtful girl - and immediately went to work on her costume. She took the "Light" part literally and collected strings of old Christmas lights, which were incorporated into a dazzling costume. Jean inadvertently placed two blinkers on her chest - "diverting" was the least critical of the critical comments. Jean's parents understandably forbade participation in any theatrical event. Jean, assuming that this did not apply to commercial promotions, aspired to become "Miss Bubble Light". She did not win this title (it was fixed) but, undaunted, applied for "Miss 1,000 Ways to Use Glitter". Again Jean's aura of light, hope, and optimism landed her this part, and again, with no misgivings whatsoever, started working on her costume. Jean was entranced with Marilyn Monroe's dress of sequins, glitter and rhinestones in "Some Like It Hot". Surreptitiously Jean began to collect sequins, glitter, and rhinestones and sew them on her leotard from ballet class. A last daring stroke was to cut her hair to pixie proportions and bleach (mother's) it blond, platinum blond. Are you, dear reader, expecting disaster? Not our Jean. The stage lights came on and Jean shot light in a thousand directions. She simply transformed her corporal being into pure light. Even the fireflies (it was an outdoor performance) shut down to watch. It was they who gave Jean her greatest tribute spelling out "Firefly" with their tiny bioluminescent tummies. Dad and Mother smiled, first at each other, then down at Jean. They let Jean wear her glittering suit to bed (a little bumpy) but Jean could not sleep thinking about what she had created. Written by: Jim White
6: The Chancellor of Merriment and Goodwill took Jean by the hand and introduced her to all the fabulous people he knew just outside the kingdom walls. A place where there were no rules and no worries. | Jean is truly a treasure. Since she joined our Saturday night antique group, we have had many good times together. Usually those times have revolved around food. Whether it's a pot luck, dinner outside at Central Station, or one of Jean's parties we have plenty of good food and conversation. Jean's July 4th parties , with fireworks off the deck, have been lots of fun - even the one with the torrential rains. And the Easter Dinner where Jean and Diane wore their Sunday best was a hoot. Jean's Ladies Who Love Lobster party was a real treat and the lobster was delicious. Jean is a valued and loved friend. She is kind, generous, and thoughtful. It's always fun to listen to her entertaining stories, like those about when she was growing up, her "gag" gift saga, and her "dinner date" with Jim. Her move to Bloomington has definitely been our gain. Love, Rosemary and Brendon
7: From that day forward, whenever they could, the Chancellor, the fabulous people and Jean got together and had a ball. | John and I moved to Bloomington from St Louis a few months after Jean moved from New Hampshire. Jean’s warmth and generosity has certainly played a large role in making Bloomington feel like home for us. It’s a one of those relationships that you cherish and always remember. We are so lucky fortunate to have found such a good friend. Susan & John Mendenhall | For Jean’s Birthday in Bloomington, IL 2010 It is good to consider what a new life in a new community brings especially one experienced in hospitality and curiosity. Her sense of adventure to discover who we are and participate here helps us view ourselves better. Like the musical character “MAME”, you have “charmed the husk“ off some of us and helped us show our bright little kernels better. Her kindness, friendship, smile, and laughter brings joy to all who know her. We are happy she chose Bloomington for her latest adventure. Happy Birthday Jean! Herb & Pamala Eaton
8: Jean Cleary, Jean Cleary, a Northeastern arrival Hosts many a gathering for Midwest survival. You have quite a flair for entertaining us all Especially those missing the salty sea and shore! Jean Cleary, Jean Cleary, we thank you so much For lobsters, baked hams, now Biaggi’s and such. Your accent, your sparkle, your magic touch in the kitchen Brings happy times to many as you create new traditions! Jean Cleary, Jean Cleary, we thank you again For your kindness, sincerity, and for being a friend You include all people as you host your events Please know you're exceptional to all ladies and gents! Happy Birthday! Sincerely, Sandy Flanagan | I think of Jean as a little pixie who is always ready to step up to the plate. She always keeps things interesting and isn’t afraid to question the status quo. She is usually planning ahead for the next get together. She’s a charming hostess and a great cook!! She’s as bubbly as what we toast her with! Sue Harrison | Jean is lovely, fun, and a fine hostess. Every time I have been to her home Jean makes everyone feel welcome, happy, and at ease. Jean is also a wonderful, creative cook! Sunny Mikals | Ladies Who Love Lobster!
9: While having fun with the fabulous people... Jean did fit in time to whip the kingdom into order with the help of some of her loyal royals. | Friends are like jewels. A friend like Jean is like the most precious of jewels-a diamond. Never will you find a truer more loyal friend, one more gracious, more giving and more genuine. She’s always there for support as well as celebration. Her loyalty is unwavering. Her energy and enthusiasm is endless. We are lucky to call Jean a friend. We wish her the happiest of birthdays and as always, a better tomorrow. ~ John & Connie Collins | I can't even begin to explain what Jean has meant to me. She has been an inspiration, a mentor, a great resource, a voice of reason and especially a great friend. She couldn't have come into my life at a better time. I will always cherish our time together and will never forget everything she has taught me. ~ Danny Carcasson | Definition of Jean Cleary: Fun-loving, determined, takes criticism well, extremely generous, willing to stop doing whatever she is doing if you need to talk, open-minded, remains calm in sticky situations, compassionate, thoughtful, gives her honest opinion even if it is not exactly what you wanted to hear, understanding, helpful, hard working, throws excellent dinner parties, respectful, awesome story teller because she has done fascinating things in her life, inspiring, overall - an amazing/wonderful lady! (I have stories for each one of these definitions, however, this would go on for days if I were to write everything). Jean is one of the few people that I have met in my life that I will always remember. For awhile, I called her my boss. However, now I am privileged to call her my friend. She has always had my best interest at heart. She has taught me a lot about life in general and how to handle different situations with different perspectives. When I think about Jean, I immediately start smiling because I think about her laugh. I don't even know where to start on that laugh. All I can say is that is the most contagious thing I have ever heard! I would be sitting in my office and all of a sudden I would hear Jean burst out laughing from her office. Unconsciously, a laugh would come out of me and I wasn't even a part of the joke! Jean is a very inspiring lady. She is someone that in the past when I was faced with a dilemma, I have said to myself "Okay, I know Jean would deal with this situation in a calm manner; how can I do that right now?" I feel like I can come to her with any question or problem that I have and she will be willing to give her expert advise. It's extremely rare to find people like her who genuinely care about you. Therefore, I am privileged to know Jean Cleary! ~ Becca Bocock | Dear Jean, I see you as a very gifted person, using your talents and kindness to make life more pleasant and appreciated by others. I wish you a Special Birthday and Happiness in all the days ahead. With Sincerity and Love, Shirley G.
10: “One of the most caring , giving bosses I’ve ever had” - Barb Mincy | Joyful, Enthusiastic , Admirable, Noble - Jenny Sperry
11: Jean's good fortune led her to the kingdom's medicine man and his wife. | Jeff and I adore Jean. We have become friends and know we are blessed to have each other as neighbors. Speaking for myself, when I visit with Jean, I realize she brings me to a higher level and she makes me feel better about myself just being around her. My cares and troubles don't seem so important even if we just talk about nothing and everything. If she ever moves away we will miss her so much. Personally I would feel that a part of me would be missing. Jean is a true person, she has integrity and love to share. My life has been so blessed by knowing her and my faith in people raised to a higher place. I can't say enough good about her and I hope she knows how many people she has blessed just by being herself!!! She saved my sanity when she rescued me from the dreaded giant water bug that buried itself in my sofa and she killed it and then stayed to have a glass of wine with me until I "returned to normal." May God bless her always. ~ Peggy Augspurger. | Their magical potions, kindness, and humor brought much comfort and joy to Jean. | A cast of characters from the Court Jester to the Royal Dog... added just the right spice to Jean's World. | Dear Jean, It has been a great pleasure getting to know you over the past few years. You are the 'hostess with the mostest." Your parties, and you, have always been First Class. On trips you are generous and very easy to travel with. Your cooking is outstanding; I have certainly never had Lobster Newburg the way you fixed it. Probably more wine in the lobster and less in you and your helper would be better next time. And one last thing I will always remember, never have you for dinner when you have to go to work the next day! Good Luck in the future. Most Sincerely, John Noble
12: JEAN: It's been wonderful getting to know you. You are quite an amazing woman. I can tell that you have developed many great friendships, and it's obvious how much you love the people around you. That is a really special thing to see. Also, I greatly appreciate everything that you have done for Diane. Thank you for being there for her, and setting such a wonderful example of how beautiful, graceful, loving, and powerful a woman can truly be. Happy 70th! I can't wait to enjoy more great dinners with you, Diane and Co. Love, Wesley | Jean is someone who takes care, A mother, a boss and a friend who is always there An impeccable dresser with a touch of class She is in no way sarcastic and never crass An intelligent woman with a heart of gold She is known for her laughter and stories told She has an affinity for all things wine And thinks lemon squares are simply divine A lady who always has an extra potato to spare Or a lobster to boil To her friends and family, she is generous loving and loyal A beautiful woman at a wise age My friend, it is now time for you to take the stage Who always says there is something civilized about a glass of wine during the day Who works very hard, but still finds time to play A world traveler who constantly has a new book to read She is strong and is not afraid to take the lead Happy Birthday to you Jean & best wishes Now go to the dishwasher and sort those dishes Respectfully, Nicolet | Happy, Woof, 70th, Woof, Birthday, Woof. I Woof you very much! Wags & Licks - Tango (The Royal Dog)
13: Jean knew that someday she would find her way back to Derry, New Hampshire. | But for now, she's having the time of her life in Jean's World. A world she created through her warmth, love, and friendship in Bloomington, Illinois | We love you! Happy 70th Birthday!