Amanda Henry

64, Hudson, NY

65 on December 11th – yes, there will be a party, any excuse or none. This is the best decade yet, I’m astounded by the chronology and energized by the future.
Born and raised in London; lived in Paris, Boston, and Los Angeles. Now, the sun rises in my bedroom window facing a hay field and an old church. I live in an 1820 farmhouse at a county crossroads, outside Hudson, NY. a little City of 2.2 square miles. I managed the restoration and did a lot of the work. I own both power tools and a sewing machine. I have friends who comment archly about the fact that the ringing bells at Noon and 1:00pm or 1:00 and 7:00 “ aren’t real church bells, just the electronic kind”. The person who used to be able to change the time on the program passed away; no one else seems to be able to spring forward and fall back in the way the most others do. It doesn’t really matter that much, and that’s a good metaphor for my life thus far. I’ve always believed it more interesting to be just out of step with society than lock-stepped into it.
I grew up in London, middle-class third-generation Jewish family who had just come through the horrors of WWII. An amalgam of these facts put a series of parenting disasters into the psyches of my parents. I knew from the time I was five that I needed to escape and that America was the place to be – we had visitors from all over the world due to my Grandfather’s business – and the Americans seemed genuinely interested in us and were definitely more fun than their British counterparts. That’s where I belonged. And so, after seeing the Beatles in ’63 just before they arrived on Ed Sullivan; a Girls Boarding school (somewhere between Hogwarts and Downton Abbey), an assortment of further education and retail management, I arrived in Boston aged 24, just after the blizzard of ’78. Three days of partying. I’d made the right decision.


What do you do for work?
My background was originally in retail. I ran shops for British and other specialty stores, and then for Neiman Marcus that positioned me in the luxury goods market. My retail career ended in 2000, after running a west coast operation for the British Crown Jewelers in Beverly Hills. The accent has helped.  Somehow through a series of convolutions, and more ill-fated monogamous romance, I found myself living in Hudson, NY. A gritty conflicted place struggling with burgeoning gentrification. A series of different projects ensued. In 2011, I was appointed Sales and Marketing Director for a $23m elder community that was being built here and have been involved with working with elders since. For the last 5 years I have had my own consulting business, Elder Living Strategies, which offers practical advice and support to elders and their families. I’m on our state assemblyperson’s committee for Women and Aging in New York. I was the Commissioner for the Aging in Hudson. I discount my fees to Elders with developmental disabilities and have a strong connection to the LBGTQ community living here. I’m an active community member. Gratitude is a daily practice of mine.
Four years ago I started on a whole new journey to find the most pleasure in my life that I could. This has involved finally becoming a fully actualized sexual being and resulted in my developing and producing two CBD creams, Oooh for Pleasure and Aaah, for Pain. I’ve completely re-evaluated my relationship with men, and am happily and cheerfully ethically non-monogamous. I have beloveds who enhance my life when we are together and leave me the fuck alone to get on with my life when we are not. It’s a wonderfully freeing existence. I guess I am actually living the girlhood older vision of myself – I’ve always been a good manifester. So here I am in the country, growing pickling preserving and all. But the new CBD business has taken me off on a whole new direction where I can talk to postmenopausal women about sexual dysfunction and have something really wonderful to offer them. “Queen of Lube” was never in my girlhood expectation of a career path. It has also been something of a spiritual awakening, and the alignment that has been offered to me in terms of getting the creams launched and sold amazes and delights me almost daily.
I’m also door person and waitress to my Mastiff puppy, Onslow, 212 lbs and growing – along with my MastiffxLab, Max, a svelte and shapely 126 lbs. We are ruled by the murdering S boys – Scampy and Smudgey who are handsome and efficient.


What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that after forty years of living here and holding American freedoms precepts and values close to my heart, that this is all crumbling before my eyes. Yes, I’m phone banking and sending postcards, and helping people get registered to vote. But the Swastikas that appeared on buildings in Kingston, a short 20-minutes drive south, this week are real; and the fears that this engendered horrific. My plan is to stay here as long as I can and to go and join my sister in Southern Spain for most of the year when I’m not in the Caribbean having a pool boy with skin like molten chocolate spritz me with Evian water or whatevs….


What’s your guilty pleasure?
I’m not big on guilt, worry or regret – three of the most inefficient uses of time. But I will confess that I have yet to be able to resist Tate’s cookies with Lapsang-souchong on a wintery afternoon with Led Zep and a joint. You can take the girl out of London, but that takes ”Afternoon tea and biscuits” to a whole ‘nother place”.
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The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.