Jeanie Henry

I was born in Brooklyn, NY where I attended grade school. Then I graduated from Westover – a girl’s boarding school in Middlebury, CT in 1939 and went to Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY for 3 years before leaving to work in the Brooklyn Hospital as a Red Cross Nurse’s Aide during the war.

In 1944 I married Don Henry, a naval attorney. After he returned from the Pacific, we moved to Connecticut and in 1948 bought a home in Middlebury next door to my old school. We raised our 4 children and lived in the same house for 60 years.

Don practiced law and I did quantities of volunteer work in the community, mostly in the hospital and in our church where I also sang in the choir for 56 years and did local Gilbert and Sullivan shows. After my husband developed Alzheimer’s he eventually had to go to the local Lutheran Home where he died in 2010. Two of our children had also died, both in their 50’s and I moved to Pomperaug Woods in 2008. I have 2 sons and their wives, 5 grandkids, 2 steps and great grand twin babies. I am a very lucky woman!

Jean Henry
Southbury, CT ©2012


At The Opera

Back when I was a teen-ager an elderly bachelor cousin invited me to attend the opera with him one afternoon. As we weren’t especially close, I was a bit surprised, but my mother thought it would be a nice thing to do, and I was free, so off we went. Upon our arrival at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, we found our seats and I prepared to sink back and enjoy the music. First, however, I got out my comb to attend to the long, blonde, curly hair which I had at the time. After sufficient primping, I put the comb back in my purse. As the lights dimmed my cousin leaned over and said these words – which I have never forgotten, even 70 years later –

“And did you remember to bring your toothbrush also?”

Jeanie Henry
Southbury, CT

More story chips from Jeanie Henry

Hair and Sibling Rivalry

You’d never know it today, but I was born with tight curly hair, and it stayed with me for many years. I rarely set it or put it up and after a swim I could just dry it and it looked fine! My poor older sister had straight mousy-brown locks which she struggled with all her life, having perms and...


My Love Of Books

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read. Of course I grew up before T.V. was invented but even so I still reach for my book instead of the remote most of the time. As a child I loved the Peter Rabbit type stories - also Black Beauty which I read countless times. Then there were the...


After World War II

The whole world seemed to change after WWII. Most of us drew a sizable sigh of relief. In my family my 2 brothers came home — one from Europe and the army, and one from the navy. I had gotten married in March of ’44 to a naval officer — the captain of a PT boat who had been seriously wounded off the...


Moon Landing

I think the event which most impressed me as an adult in a positive way, was the first man landing on the moon. I remember standing at the window that night staring at that great white orb so many millions of miles away, and being astonished that a mere mortal would have the audacity, as well as the...


Winter Activities

I grew up in the City, so don’t remember doing much of the fun stuff of winter like sliding and outdoor skating but once I was married, we lived in the country and took up skiing. I really never got very far off the novice slopes, but had fun watching my husband and 3 sons zipping by while tending...


Responding to a Question About the 1940s Musicians' Strike

I have no recollection of a [1940s] musicians’ strike, but music has always been a big part of my life. My father played by ear and loved symphonies. I had piano lessons - to no avail - but I always loved to sing and was a member of various glee clubs at school and college. I sang in my church choir...


Christmas - Family and Music

December was always a happy month for me. As a child it meant Christmas of course, with all that led up to it, and then there was my birthday a week before, and school vacation and some parties. I always enjoyed the special services at church - the pageants; the old carols and sometimes the Messiah...


Dating 1930s

Dating In 1936, when I was young and foolish at 17, I got pneumonia, and as it was before the days of the so called “wonder drugs” I was quite sick – I should have been very upset as this happened just before Xmas vacation – but actually I was delighted. My Mother had decreed that I could not go out...


On Reading

I always loved to read. As a kid I devoured the Burgess books – Peter Rabbit and the like. I read them over and over and loved each one. Later, I recall always sitting in a red arm chair in the corner of a library in our summer home. Winters were spent in delight – in many ways. I would curl up in...


A Difficulty - Losing A Child

I guess the most difficult time in my life was when our oldest son developed a benign brain tumor which left him legally blind at age 33. We moved him into a small house nearby and I spent the next 20 years dealing with this problem. He had 2 major surgeries, but was always brave and cheerful and...



Rationing - well a lot of it was about food but what I remember best was shoes! The first time I had to go before a rationing board was probably in 1942 when I went to apply for a coupon for some nursing shoes. I had just completed a Red Cross nurse’s aide course and was ready to start work in the...


Street Sounds

When I was a kid we lived on a dead end street in Brooklyn – one could stand at the foot of the street and survey the NY skyline and the Statue of Liberty. On foggy nights the tugboats went up and down the river singing their mournful songs and if we had guests they would come to breakfast...


School Days - Singing

Most people think of studies, teachers, friends, sports, games, etc. when remembering school days and of course I do too, but I also remember singing! I was lucky enough to attend a girl’s boarding school – at least I thought it was lucky – and my Mother took me to see one. – It was summer and there...


About School

About school – well actually I sort of like it. Not tests and homework and so on, but I was always ready to go back. As a kid we lived in the country about a mile out of town. Of course I had siblings and friends but I felt sort of isolated at times and by September I was ready to return to the City...


Another Kind of 4th Of July

Back in 1976 my husband and I were lucky enough to be able to go on a trip to Scandinavia. We flew to Denmark and boarded a small ship for approximately 100 people and proceeded to travel around until we got to the famous fiords of Norway. We were in Bergen at Edvard Grieg’s home for a piano recital...


Vacations, 1930's

When I was a kid we were taken to a camp on the upper Ausable Lake in the Adirondacks for a few weeks e very summer. It was not the usual camp but a private one inherited by my Mother and it was her refuge and her joy. It was a mix of being quite luxurious and yet quite rugged at the same time....



We’re supposed to write about ourselves – right? So – recently I was trying to decide on a topic while I was reading one of those “discover yourself” magazines. I came across this sentence “What are you most proud of ?” well - that got me thinking. Surely I’m proud of something — of course I’m...


Lost and Found

When I graduated from high school, my mother gave me a beautiful ring – a ruby set in diamonds. I was thrilled! Not only was it a complete surprise, but I treasured it even more when I learned its history – it was old, and had been given to my mother’s mother by her husband when she was born. As I...


My Non-Job

In the Spring of 1942, I was finishing up my 3rd year of college. Pearl Harbor had taken place; the country was at was; most of the boys I knew were in uniform including my 2 brothers. Several of my friends had left college and had no plans to return. I was an adequate student, but no scholar and my...

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