Kate Jones ... a brief biography


A bemused and kindly traveler of this world, who tries to leave things better than she found them.

Critics' version: Type A personality workaholic whose orderliness drives housemates bonkers; whose energy level leaves co-workers exhausted, and who has mercifully toned down her philosophical ramblings so as not to render associates catatonic.

Partisans' views:—Additions to this group are being sought.
  • "Her ability to listen is a wonder."
  • "When I'm with you I'm special."
  • "Thank you for enlarging my life."
  • "You're someone who is always there."
  • "I feel I can always trust you."
  • "You are one of the nicest, most polite people I've met on the net!"
  • "The biggest difference between the two companies is that Amazon is run by a Bezos, whereas Kadon is run by an Amazon."
Impartial evaluators:
  • Myers-Briggs: INTJ
  • Mensa proctored test: top 1%
  • International Society for Philosophical Enquiry: top 0.1%
  • Edward de Bono's Examination in General Thinking Skills: B
  • Police officer Bob Walsh: 16 miles over the speed limit.

DESCENT Born May 4, at the dawn of World War II, in Budapest, Hungary. On father's side, Hungarians all the way, six generations of sons named George. Reputed connection to Matyas, 15th-century king of Hungary. A side strand leads to Netherlands. On mother's side some German three generations ago. Alleged connection to Rakoczy Ferenc, hero of the Hungarian revolt against the Hapsburgs in 1703. My only known living relative, a niece named Marika, does not know of me. — [Addendum 2019] Through a strange sequence of contacts and events, in 2017 I found a third-cousin in Sweden, who connected me to an entire family tree going back to 1662 and to my niece and her family in Budapest. In 2017 we met them in Sweden, and in October 2018 we attended a family gathering of 36 relatives that they organized in Budapest. Imagine that! Orphan no more.

1939 to 1944 Placid toddlerhood in Budapest. War comes, we flee on a moment's notice with what we can carry, heading for the West. Hide out in bunkers, bombs barely missing us. Family settles in Fürth, Germany, when the smoke clears. Measles leave me half-blinded and I get to wear glasses for the next fifty years.

1945 to 1951 German schools instill discipline, learning, orderliness. Attempts to instill obedience fail. At that age being bilingual is effortless. Favorite memories: visits to the Alps, learning the games Mühle, "battleship" and rummy, keeping live snails, the sound of streetcars in the night, a white rabbit-fur teddybear, the thrill of accelerated learning with private tutors (a year's curriculum in three weeks), and the excitement of arriving in America on Christmas day, 1951. Not so pleasant events: seven months in a TB sanatorium, squashing a little finger in a door, losing the teddy to moths, gaining a baby brother.

1952 to 1957 American education in Bridgeport, CT, culminates with high school (salutatorian). Best subject: English. Most useful subject: typing. Favorite growing-up memories: summer days on the sands of Pleasure Beach...climbing trees, long bike rides, playing endless rounds of Monopoly and Canasta...grossing people out with colonies of roaches in jars....reading every fairytale, Western, detective, Tarzan and science fiction book in the library, topping out with Plato's The Republic... doing really well in geometry class. Not so pleasant memories: years of battling non-captive roaches before finding the right stuff.. wearing rummage-sale clothes...the long walks to school, in all weather, with the sole flopping loosely on my only pair of shoes.

1957 to 1966 At age 18 enter job market and first marriage. Get lots of on-the-job training: daytime in advertising, copywriting, graphic art...evenings as ballroom dance teacher, newsletter editor. Reside variously in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland. Give up all jobs, become paragon homemaker when children are born in 1962, 1963, 1965. Resign from marriage, 1966.

1966 to 1975 Re-enter job market in Washington, DC. Daytime: copywriter, librarian, corporate paper shuffler. Evenings: ballroom dance teacher, manuscript typist. In 1970, marry the love of my life, Dick Jones. In 1971, start own business, Custom Graphics, in living room of townhouse in Leesburg, VA. No more 100-mile-a-day commuting, no more timecards to punch, no more steady paycheck. In 1972 we purchase the Old Firehouse, Purcellville, VA, to house the growing business and our own dance floor. Adopt a puppy, English setter/German shepherd mix, and name her Cha Cha. Dick and I enter many dance competitions, bring home many trophies. Life doesn't get any better than this... Fate steps in...

Dick and Kate in dance competition, circa 1973

1975 to 1979 Dick's employer, Westinghouse, sends us (dog and all) to Iran for a few years. This story deserves a separate book. I soon have two jobs again: secretary to the Engineering Manager of Iran Electronics Industries, and consultant/typesetter for a local print shop. Add Farsi to my language repertoire. Read Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth and learn about pentominoes, get a set crafted in classic Persian inlay and invent a game with it. Observe changing native mood that leads to revolution in late 1978. Westinghouse ships out all their people on three days' notice in December. Household goods are to be shipped later. In March 1979 I go back to Shiraz, alone (another separate story). Return to U.S. in May with household goods, unique observations of a revolution, and indelible memories.

1979 until now Westinghouse transplants Dick to Baltimore facility. The Purcellville graphics business has been sold. Now what? Someone suggests going into business to produce that game I invented while in Iran. Kadon Enterprises is founded 1979, incorporated as of June 18, 1980. "Quintillions" has its world premiere at a Washington, DC, trade show, July 1980. Soon thereafter, we get a fabulous review in Games magazine and a spot on the "Games 100" list. Ever after, we ride the rollercoaster progression of new products, new discoveries, new means of marketing. I still work two jobs, but both are for the same business now. In 1997 a blinding cataract is removed, restoring vision....a new lease on life.

What a strange long trek it's been, from that moment of picking up Imperial Earth in an airport newsstand in Dubai, to a life's work of creating and producing mathematical recreations — paradigms of the Universe, "math as art" — that integrate the graphic art experience, the writing, the philosophical yearning for symmetry and order, the celebration of the human mind and spirit. Now if I just had time for dancing, life couldn't get any better than this.

VIEWPOINTS People should be decent to each other (no wars). The world seeks to find the dynamic balance between the needs and rights of the many... and the rights and needs of the one. For happiness in life, one needs to "fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds' worth of distance run" (Kipling). The protection of the right to do so, and to what one has earned, should be the prime directive of government. Love wins!

PLEASURES Collecting: wonderful people, unusual minds, kaleidoscopes by Charles Karadimos, bears, puzzles, civilized games, tops, stamps of dancers.
Doing: solving puzzles, creating designs (check out our Christmas tree, Meta-graphics, and 70th birthday puzzle), writing, ballroom dancing, mountain climbing, traveling (see Romania), talking with fascinating people about deep subjects, getting poems published on philosophical insights.
Watching: Star Trek (and anything Roddenberry), figure skating, ballroom dance competitions, Cirque du Soleil, Animusic, Tim Minchin, sunsets on mountains... just about anything with Sean Connery, Kevin Kline, Harrison Ford, Billy Crystal, Danny Kaye or Anthony Hopkins, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster, Ingrid Bergman, Meryl Streep or Helen Hunt. Acquired taste: Angelina Jolie.
Hearing: music by Liszt, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, that bunch...Patric Hale (Caranza)...Tim Minchin...Rafael Mendez, trumpet virtuoso...Sergei Novikov, pianist/composer... Al Stewart, Edith Piaf, Roger Whittaker, Yanni, Sozra, Tom Lehrer, Willie Bobo, Persian, and most of all Googoosh ... the rushing of surf, the rustling of a forest, the sizzling of cricket swarms in the night... the silence of Carlsbad Caverns.
Tasting: curried anything, Fuji apples, Persian rice, pumpernickel bagels, Fritos Scoops, Hungarian anything, German bread, Guylian (Belgian) chocolates. (I'm a vegetarian now.)
Smelling: ozone, mountain air, baking chocolate chip cookies, frying onions, sun-dried laundry, the spice-wafted bazaar of Shiraz.
Touching: smooth wood, hairy chests, cotton clothing, sheepskin slippers, cool marble floors, my laptop's keyboard.
Favorite computer games: Chip's Challenge, Heaven & Earth by Scott Kim, Puzzle Express by HipSoft LLC
Favorite comic strips: Calvin and Hobbes, Prince Valiant, Doonesbury, For Better or for Worse, Non Sequitur.
Most influential books: Atlas Shrugged. The Selfish Gene.
Favorite authors: Tom Tryon, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, Ayn Rand, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hunter, Shakespeare, Judith Martin ("Miss Manners"), Karl May, Warren Fahy, Stanislaw Kapuscinski, Don Sakers, Robert P. Vermillion, Jr.
Most-listened-to songs: Kool Kat Walk (Julee Cruise), Puttin' on the Ritz (Taco), Night Train to Munich (Al Stewart).
Favorite chiropractor: Dr. Glen Bobker, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Most exhilarating task: hiking up and around the Waxenstein (Bavarian Alps) with Dick (1994). Here's a picture of it—one of the most beautiful places on earth:

For a larger view (28.9K), click on this picture.

Most difficult challenge: creating the Kadon website (www.gamepuzzles.com) with no training or experience. HTML really stands for "Horribly Twisted Mangled Layouts."
Being a survivor of: World War II, tuberculosis, an Atlantic Ocean crossing by army troop ship during the worst storm in 50 years, the Washington DC race riots of 1968, being in a hold-up, rolling a VW squareback down a hill, giardiasis, the Iranian Revolution, and driving a million miles in six countries with nine vehicles and a moped. How many lives do I have left?

PEEVES Really irksome, because unnecessary: Cigarette smoke, illogic, political shenanigans, bureaucracies, messy rooms, things that don't work (including computers that freeze up when one hasn't saved), public displays of crude bodily noises and gestures, telemarketers, in-your-face attitudes, deceit, violence and vulgarity, too much work piled on my desk.
Other things I have to put up with: days getting shorter in winter, rainstorms while I'm exhibiting outdoors, temperatures ever falling below 70 F degrees, the years speeding by, that I have to sleep at least four hours a day.


RETROSPECTIVES On May 10, 2014, "The Party of the Century" was held in Pasadena, MD., to celebrate 35 years of Kadon Enterprises, Inc., and Kate's birthday. An amusing commentary that garnered many laughs from the 42 guests accompanied a photo-filled PowerPoint presentation, 35 years of Kadon, 75 years of Kate.

On July 4, 2020, the Joneses celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, with a virtual party of 32 guests from 8 countries on Zoom to meet pandemic rules of distancing. A great one-woman show about Julia Child by Mary Ann Jung entertained the guests; Patric Hale, a virtuoso meistersinger, performed "Love Changes Everything"; and Kate presented a PowerPoint overview of Dick and Kate's 50 years of love and adventures, The Golden Jubilee.

On March 21, 2021, Kate gave a lengthy online presentation as part of the Gathering for Gardner Celebration of Mind, on the subject of A Periodic Table of Polyform Puzzles in rhyming couplets with background music by Sergei Novikov, describing a dozen of Kadon's tiling sets. It was followed by a half hour of Q&A in an interview hosted by G4G's Tiago Hirth. By a stunning coincidence, that day was also World Poetry Day.

On June 1, 2022, Scott Douglas Jacobsen, publisher of In-Sight Publishing, released a lengthy interview with Kate Jones, covering a great many subjects of culture, philosophy, intelligence, life, and more. It created a strangely introspective response from Kate.

FUTURE PLANS A larger workshop/warehouse... more games and puzzles, more people buying our games and puzzles... the website even bigger and better, with expanded interactive features... a chain of puzzle parlors serving up refreshments as well as food for thought (investors apply here)... to cherish our friends, to write those books, to climb a few more mountains, to learn and speak more truths.

CONTACT ME E-mail to: Kate Jones. Snailmail to Kadon Enterprises, Inc., 1227 Lorene Drive, Suite 16, Pasadena, MD 21122.

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