DMH Spotlight - Trip down memory lane with Diana Mara Henry Back

From DMH memoirs, [In 1959, having moved to NYC from Cincinnati] my parents enrolled me in the Lycée Français de New York, then located at 95th and Fifth, and it was a bumpy and harsh entry into the rigorous French educational system.... My Geography class was taught by the Lycée’s President, Maurice Galy, a pretentious and hyper-ambitious parvenu who bore down mercilessly on his students. My first assignment for him, a map of the ancient world, drawn and colored by hand, was torn up by him at the front of the class in a public act of humiliation which was by no means unique. I later saw him humiliate Paul Oppenheim, a brilliant German boy, telling him he “would never amount to anything, in this school.” I don’t know what went through Paul’s head at that moment - he promptly became a top student – but I know that at the moment of my humiliation, I determined that the only way I would survive in that environment would be to be tops in my class, a status I achieved the next year, in 7th grade, and never gave up until I entered Radcliffe, a year early. By the time Monsieur Galy overturned my desk in 7th grade, dumping its contents on the floor to demonstrate its deplorable untidiness, I was composed and took it all in stride, as the joke that it surely was for all except the dwindling little man who created the scene.... At the end-of the year prize ceremonies from that year on, I was called up to the stage again and again to accept first prizes in Latin, Greek, French, English, History, Geography – everything except Math, Physics and Chemistry – culminating in the coveted Prix d’Excellence which was awarded to the most highly achieving student in that grade overall. I was not forced to give up this honor until my last year, premiere, when Paul Oppenheim was awarded it while the three girls who contested it with him were all awarded Le Prix d’Honneur, second best overall. This was probably my first feminist “ah ha!” experience- Letty Pogrebin, take note, and thank you: you coined the phrase and popularized the insight that sooner or later we all share. [The above prize certificate for her performance as Marie La Bonne in La Cantatrice Chauve, by Ionesco. Her crowning moment when her tiny high heel caught between the floor boards of the makeshift stage and so, her monolgue complete, she stepped out of her shoes and sashayed off-stage. It was a perfect touch for the Dadaism of The Bald Soprano.]


Cool summer job between junior and senior year: Publicity secretary for "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium"

Ron Kovic and Gene Dorr (holding flag) leading Vietnam Veteran demonstration, LA, 1980.

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An unforgettable experience: having moved to Benton Hot Springs (at the foot of the Sierras, seen here on honeymoon background for self-portrait photo) after daughter Barbara's birth in the summer of 1987, and becoming a docent at Bodie, DMH stayed there for a night or two, waking up in that other reality of a high Sierra ghost town, the shack shaking when the wandering cows rubbed against it to scratch their sides...An ethereal and otherworldly trip back in time, after the tourists left.

Oh happy day!
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