In her own words...

"A Memoir (Charles Henri Ford)"


When I met Charles Henri he was pretty well known as not only the handsomest boy in New York but one of the most talented ones. His VIEW magazine was of course the talk heard everywhere, there was a great deal of effusion and just plain excitement over the strange new words and pictures that were spilling out of that magazine. And the words most heard were surrealism and dada. There had been the big Dada-Surrealism show at the MOMA in 1936 but it all, or almost all, came from abroad. Here it was at home in New York!

Actually I met Chas. later, it was in 43, I think, and the Surrealists themselves were here, refugees from Hitler. By this time we both knew the others so it was natural that we should meet. I was a young painter, showing around, and Charles used a work of mind to illustrate an article called "The Snake on the Dining Room Table." I liked that. Then he printed a poem of his that he dedicated to me: The Children Going. But soon after I went to live in Arizona. So it was some time before we got together again.

As it turned out, Charles Henri came out to Sedona Arizona where I was living and he a Tchelitchew took a little house in Oak Creek Canyon. It was a beautiful but rather savage setting, a rushing stream (Oak Creek), great boulders, lots of pines and red cliffs. One time we, Max Ernst and I, had to go away for a couple of days and we asked Pavlik and Charles to keep our little dog. Well, P. was not too keen on it but accepted with good grace. When we came back, however, he had dramatically changed his mind about our dog (Her name was Katchina). It seemed that in the night the doggie had come scratching at Pavlik's bed, trying to wake him. And when he did, there was a big rattlesnake in the room, all curled up, waiting for somebody to step on him in the dark so he could give him the fatal bite. At least that is the way that Pavlik saw it. So Katchina saved his life!

Oak Creek Canyon was a wonderful pristine place in those days, and we all enjoyed being together in this incredible atmosphere after the sound and the fury of New York City.

It was only very lately that We have been able to renew our acquaintance. We have both traveled and lived in widely different far-flung parts of the world. And here we are, back home, both of us, and glad to be here. I am, as I'm sure he is too, judging by his bright, ebullient spirit.


About this work

“A Memoir ” was published in The Café Review, Vol. 7 (Summer 1996), a issue devoted to Charles Henri Ford, pp. 9-10.