Happy Birthday to you, Henry Byrn! 161 years ago.
Happy Birthday, little Henry Byrn! Born 161 years ago, right here in Bozman.
For you, new reader – Henry was a small child buried in the yard of the old schoolhouse that we are living in. A short, four year life – you can read about him here – https://chesapeakejournal.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/young-henry-byrn/.
One tiny grave, one small mound, juxtaposed in the center of our modern lives. I walk past him ten times a day. He had a birthday yesterday, the same day as Mike Kabler, and we celebrated it with a tiny cheesecake covered in pureed cherries from Sweetie Bakery.
Thanks to census records available online, I found out some things about Henry. His father, Henry Byrne, was a schoolteacher, 35 years old when Henry was born. His mother, Ann, was 28. He had two siblings, Sarah, 3 and Christopher, 1. I always wondered who put him in the ground, who grieved on that sad day. Now we know – four people, four family members, suffered this sad loss in 1855, right here on the edge of Harris Cove. Attached by a thin, but strong thread – to us here, today. Place is the thread that connects. This place, right here.
The wind kept blowing out the candle, but there was enough time to sing Happy Birthday to him, quickly, in the sun yesterday afternoon. And I felt for his family and held their grief in my heart, and wept.