12 April 2010

Uncle Benny Hegwer

This photo is one of the treasures I brought home with me from my visit last month with my Aunt Lelia in Utah.  Once again, she pulled out photos I have no memory of ever having seen before!  (More of them will probably appear here over the next few weeks!)  I believe this is the only photo I have of Uncle Benny where he is not a babe-in-arms.

Uncle Benny was the seventh child of my grandparents Bertha (Carr) and Ben Hegwer, whom you saw in a previous post.  In fact, I now know that both that photo and this one of Benny were taken by Bertha's sister, Ann Carr, on the same day, 12 October 1929.  Benny was born here in the family home at the plant for Utah Power & Light at Lifton in St. Charles, Bear Lake, Idaho, on 24 December 1926, so he is almost 3 years old in this photo.  His father, Ben, was the power plant superintendent.

It strikes me that sometimes a photo can be appreciated for its content and composition or, sometimes, a photo is valued because of who or what it records, regardless of artistic merit.  And, sometimes, it may be valued for the greater story it tells.  For me, this photo is in this last category and I hope I can express myself adequately...

Thankfully, Grand-Aunt Ann annotated the back of her photo: 

So, it seems all the more charming to me and personal to know the names of the cats.  Maybe it's because of the name "Fuzzy," but Benny and the cats all look so playful and are obviously planning their next adventure.

But, doesn't the impact and character of this snapshot change when I tell you that Benny died just 17 days after this moment in time?

Shortly after the 2 photos were taken, the whole family became very ill.  His sister Margaret died five days after Benny, the death certificates saying scarlet fever (but Aunt Lelia swears it was diphtheria).  Their father, Ben, never fully recovered and died 3 August 1933.  Brother Ray also never fully recovered but lived til 1937.

One small snapshot can be so much more than just the image on its front side.

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