Thanks, Yolanda Woodson-Dowdell, for your comforting words about Maria Henle. I, too, remember Maria from St. Dunstan's School, where I was a Teacher-Librarian (perhaps you might recall). Her artwork in school then was ALWAYS sheer joy, as she developed her art and perfected her approach to her world in her art. I also remember her when she attended Good Hope School (where I taught), after the closing of St. Dunstan's School. She was a talented, determined individual, with definite ideas about art – not always understood and appreciated by the uninformed and uninitiated.
It was a natural that she would capture her world around her, just as her father, Fritz Henle, did. I remember her father, during his visits to use the phone in my home after Hurricane Hugo, almost inevitably commenting with great pride about Maria and her accomplishments; I remember when he proudly told me that Maria was returning to her painting, after an extremely successful life of color etching. She continued painting for the rest of her life, for the whole world not just St. Croix.
While in her upper class days at Good Hope School, she painted a couple of large works of St. Croix harbor scenes. As I recall, in her senior year, the V.I. Government (Legislature, I believe) purchased one of those works. I do hope the V.I. Government still has it. Maria's drive, talent, determination, dedication, etc., etc. remained with her all her life. We have lost an Icon, but we have not lost her presence, for her works are everywhere for all to appreciate – Her karma will remain with us.
I may not have always agreed with you, Maria, but I have respected and admired you, your work, your legacy (and have the privilege of living with two of your works in my home). You've earned your rest, and hopefully your work will inspire other young (very young, and not so young) to follow in your footsteps.
Robert V. Vaughn, Ed.D.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to email@example.com.