The Mysterious Woman In Harry's Trunk
Thursday, April 19, 2012
My grandfather Harry Waterhouse-Hayward was from Manchester. He had a son with his common law wife Ellen Carter in England before they moved to Buenos Aires in 1901. It was in Buenos Aires where Harry married Ellen and then had two more sons (George, my father was one of them) and three daughters. Harry was eccentric. He loved to dance and it seems he was going to miss an important dance because he had a painful foot. He went to the doctor who told him that he had an infected toe (I am not sure which one of the toes it was) and there was no positive prognosis for it. Harry told the doctor to amputate it right there. After a swig of Scotch (my father did not specify if it was the doctor or his father who imbibed the alcohol) the toe went flying. Harry went dancing the next day minus one of his toes.
Every once in a while I go into a trunk that my father bequeathed me and I rifle around. I thought I had found everything. But under a paper lining at the base of the trunk I found, just a few days ago, a yellowing envelope with the picture you see here. I had no idea that my grandfather was a photographer. Perhaps he wasn’t and he obtained this print from somewhere else, and which looks like an albumen print of the mid 19th century. I wonder who this long dead woman was. Was she my grandfather’s lover? Did Ellen know about the liaison and urged Harry to move to Buenos Aires to take him away from her. I will never know but I hope those who see the picture here will enjoy a pleasure that came from what really is two centuries ago.