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Family Threads: A Brother's Love

Posted by Renee Saturday, September 12, 2009

My maternal grandfather, Lester A. Masters, with two of his six siblings,
Laurence and Hester (Hettie), Nodaway County, Iowa. (1902)

My Pop, Lester Masters, loved his little sister, Hettie. I can still remember the first time he showed me this photograph; how he ran his thumb around its edge, and how his eyes softened and his gravelly voice smoothed when he started to talk.

“Hettie was my only sister – I was three years older, but our birthdays were only a day apart, and we were awful close,” he told me. “Every day, I’d saddle up my little old horse, Dolly, and we’d ride off to school together. Then one year when the weather turned cold, it got to be too much for her and after that I had to go to school alone.” He paused, and we sat quiet for a moment before he continued, “Hettie died when she was twelve and I was fifteen. Last thing she told Mom before she died was, ‘Take care of Lester.’” Another pause, and then, “I’d’a done anything for her.”

I never met Hettie. But I know her. I look at this picture—Pop’s protective arm around her—and I hear her story whispering in my memory.

So now it’s my turn to pass on Hettie’s story, to weave the thread of her history with my own. And as I do, the fabric of our family becomes richer, and its connections more tightly entwined—not only between Hettie and Pop, but between us all; and not just for now, but for ever.

“Family Threads” is a periodic colemn in Above the Tree. If you have a photograph and family story (400 word max.) that you’d like to share with Photoloom News readers, please contact us today! All submissions are subject to editing for space and content.

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