To Michael K Blanchard
Ena in Cyberspace
This is my Auntie Ena. My dad is Graham M. Henry Sr, her bother, who passed away this year in February. She looked so much like him and appears to have been a hard worker like her brother. (Helen Jean Henry Ursery)
This is my aunt Ena and three cousins whom I have never met or knew.(Graham Henry Jr.)
Wow it was great to find these pictures online and be able to see part of my family I did not know. I am the Grand Son of Graham Henry who is Auntie’s Brother. I would like to contact you all again…I contacted Auntie when I was living and working in Jamaica from 2004-2005 but lost your numbers. My name is Michael K. Blanchard. Unfortunately Auntie passed before I was able to get over to Old Harbour to see her.(Michael K Blanchard)
A Brief Afterlife
Except for the bizarre overlay of satellite TV reception from the U.S. and the ubiquitous cell phone, Ena Henry Williams, lived her eighty two year life beyond modernity, stranded in a rural enclave of timelessness, Old Harbour Bay, within an island, Jamaica, and in an area, the Caribbean, which tends to resist the neurotic and fashionable intrusions of planned obsolescence and change for its own sake.
Despite the digital intrusions of the twenty first century, when Auntie’s ruled the roost in her independent Republic, called Auntie’s Hot Spot, this ambiance of stubborn timelessness was the norm. In her realm, the early part of the twentieth century had decided to stick around for another century or so. Like so many hundreds of millions of other people in rural communities across the world in regions of uneven or no industrial development, she led a simple life making a living from hard work, entrepreneurship and her wits. Ena Henry Williams died in September 2005.
An elegy to Ena was posted on this website in August 2013. She was briefly resuscitated from her eternal repose by a flurry of interest in the post. (See Caribbean Routes-Part 2 Old Harbour Bay in Archives)
August of 2013 saw a spike in the daily viewership on this remote, little viewed blog site in a rural, out-of-the-way outpost of the blogosphere. The family of Ena’s brother Graham Heny Sr. had discovered the memorial on this website and for a week Ena was revitalized, escaping briefly the deficit of attention paid to the departed. Her memorial post added over a thousand views in a week.
Ena had played a role, albeit in a passive way, in bringing together parts of a family dispersed early in the twentieth century from the Caribbean to North America. She was indirectly the instrument that generated social energy to initiate communications among the living of her tribe which in turn stimulated research into the lives of the children of Ena’s parents, Mabel Campbell and her mercurial partner known variously as George Henry, Jorge Montaque, Jorge Herrera. (For update on George Henry see Michelle Ray’s comments in the comment section at the bottom of this post).
Michael K. Blanchard, son of Helen Henry Ursery, one of Ena’s newly rediscovered American family reports the following from his research:
Siblings: All born in Clarendon, Jamaica—Scottish Irish Descent
- Kenneth Cleveland Henry 3-8-1909
- Clement Rupert Henry 8-11-1913
- Donald Leigh Henry 9-15-1915
- Graham Martin Henry 4-11-1920
- Moreton Llewellyn Henry a.k.a. Geoffery Henry or Jack 4-11-1920
- Ena Violis Henry 4-25-1922
- Norma May Henry 12-28-1924
- * Addendum from Michelle Ray (See letter below for comments by Michelle Ray about an additional child) “Hugh Vivian Henry born March 6, 1911, in Orange River, Clarendon was the second child born to George Montigue Henry and Mabel Aneita Campbell. It is highly likely that Hugh died in infancy and may not have lived long but I wanted you to know for the record that there were 8 children born to “Georgie” (that was how he signed his name on documents) and Mabel”. (From Michelle Ray’s research)
***The words quoted above under Ena’s portrait are from her American relatives and reveal surprise to find evidence of Ena pulled into a digital existence from the relative obscurity of her life in rural Jamaica and even 8 years after her death. Digital communication has highlighted the improbable linkage of people in widely dispersed locations with a single, albeit important commonality: that of ancestry.
Cyberspace: where exactly is that? What is it?
Cyberspace draws attention to remediation of culture through new media technologies: it is not just a communication tool but a social destination, and is culturally significant in its own right. Finally, cyberspace can be seen as providing new opportunities to reshape society and culture through “hidden” identities, or it can be seen as borderless communication and culture.( Wikipedia)
- All Saints Day is celebrated in many parts of the world November 2nd to remember those who have departed the physical realm. Still recognized notably in Latin America, (especially Mexico-el dia de los muertos) it is described as a vestige of pagan societies. Pagan or not, this gesture seems to be somewhat more civilized than the current practice across our enlightened societies to plant the dead and then forget them. (See link below for one such celebration from Sweden).
- We are thinking of you Ena, and will raise a glass non-judgementally in your memory on the second day of November. Rest in Peace.