Growing up, Harry and Angeline Henson had a friendship that many siblings don’t get to experience. At a young age, they lost their father, and with Harry 8 years older than his sister, he did his best to fill that now missing piece in their family. The two had many adventures during their childhood in Montross that inspired Harry to begin writing short stories in his teen years. Many of his tales are fictional short stories based on his life in the Northern Neck. One specific story that stands out to Angeline is called “Halloween;” Harry dedicated this story to his sister who shares a birthday with the spooky holiday.
The Henson siblings’ relationship continued even as Harry attended VCU and continued his life in Richmond after graduation as a history teacher in the Richmond Public School system. During this time, Harry began sending out queries in an attempt to get his stories published. Many people responded positively to his work, but the publication process was interrupted when Vivian Henson, Harry and Angeline’s mother, became ill. Harry then moved in with his mother in her Montross home, where he took care of her while she was sick. Life in the Northern Neck continued once again as the siblings cared for their ailing mother.
However, on July 10, 2014 Angeline’s life took a heartbreaking turn when Harry passed away unexpectedly. The bond the two siblings had was severed by Harry’s passing, forcing Angeline to navigate her life without her older brother. Years have passed, but now Angeline has discovered a way to bring Harry’s spirit back to life: by publishing his written work. “I wanted his legacy to live on,” she says. Angeline has a thumb drive with Harry’s short stories on them, as well as the stories he had given to her as gifts throughout their lives. In December 2017, Angeline decided to publish her brother’s stories in a book titled “Hills, Ditches, and Dead Shots: Notes on a Southern Life.”
For the full article, pick up the latest Westmoreland News 8/29/18
Photo: Harry T. Henson, author of “Hills, Ditches, and Dead Shots: Notes on a Southern Life”