Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (, and the historical time period in which she lives.

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I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Real Explorers - Osa Leighty Johnson: Part 1

Jade’s character has been called “larger than life” which is sometimes a polite way of saying “unbelievable.” To be honest, who would believe a fictional character that led troops in stirring charges, became president, pushed for conservation, spent time going down the Amazon, and hunted big game in Africa? Yet Teddy Roosevelt is real. Is he more realistic because he’s a man? Maybe, but there were also many “larger than life” women. Osa Leighty Johnson was one of them.

Osa Leighty started out with ordinary roots. Born in Chanute, Kansas in 1894, she learned what many Kansas girls learned. Her father taught her to hunt and fish, and her mother taught her domestic lore. But fate introduced her to Martin Johnson, another Kansan. This young man decided on a life of adventure at an early age and took up photography, traveling around the state taking portraits just to fund his real love, travel. He’d been on Jack London's boat called Snark with Jack's wife Charmian and wanted to photograph wild people. Osa met him, and after a whirlwind courtship, they eloped. She was sixteen.

Osa’s girlhood dreams had been to become a great actress, get married, and live in a pretty little house with her husband and children. Now her dreams would come true, but in ways she never imagined. Her homes and gardens were always temporary and in far away places such as at the top of a volcanic mountain in northern Kenya. Pet gibbons and cheetahs took the place of children. Osa starred in many movies, but she shared the screen with lions, elephants, and cannibal headhunters. During these adventures she saved the life of her producer-director-husband, Martin Johnson, many times.


note: I will do my best to update this blog site on a weekly basis. However, it may not happen with the regularity of clockwork. Or perhaps it will, but with the regularity of a clock whose battery is draining or whose works are a bit gummed up and in need of a good cleaning; the regularity of a clock in need of a laxative. So if you come back in a week and see the same article, try again in another 2 days. Thanks. Suzanne Arruda

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