According to Diana Nyad in her 2015 memoir Find A Way, her mother, Lucy, returns from Paris in 1941, then goes to her mother Jeannette’s apartment “on the east side of Manhattan somewhere,” only to have Jeannette turn her away forever. But that never happened. Here’s why.
We need to go back one more generation, to Diana’s great-grandmother, Mrs. Charles Wilder Glass, born Kate Elizabeth Perkins in 1869. A spiritualist minister and a medium, she wrote three volumes of Mars-based science fiction:
According to Diana Nyad, her grandfather succumbed to the wiles of a show-dancer 50 years his junior. Jeannette Glass danced, but that’s where the truth ends and Nyad’s tall tale begins.
Diana Nyad knows next to nothing about her family, but that doesn’t stop her from inventing stories about them. Until recently, I’d always wondered about this bit from Find A Way:
Lucy Winslow Curtis [Diana’s mom] was born in New York City in 1925, daughter of a wealthy, erudite man of society: businessman, artist, and college professor George Warrington Curtis, age seventy-one. Her mother was a young show dancer and gold digger, Jeanette, age twenty-one. (p. 36)
Fifty years’ difference — ewwwww! Except that it’s not true. The numbers follow traditional Nyadian mathematical principles, figures growing or shrinking depending on how much Diana wants to elevate herself or belittle others. In fact, when Lucy was born, her father was 55, and her mother 30. So 25 years’ difference, not a half-century.