Hello. My name is Henrietta Steward, but the people who are closest to me call me Hettie. I was born May 25, 1892, in Barrie, Ontario, and I’ve lived in this province my entire life.
I am the fourth of eight children born to Benjamin and Lucretia Stewart. My siblings are Ida, Walter, Mabel, Freddie, Tommy, Alice and Adelaide. I have always been the closest to Freddie, and I hope that does not change when I get married. I remember fondly those days when we were prone to mischief and secrets. We don’t get into mischief much anymore, but we are loyal to each to the end.
My fiancé, Geoffrey Bartlette, and I are marrying on May 23, 1914. Geoffrey is the love of my life. I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t in my life or when I didn’t love him. Our wedding day will be the happiest day of our lives, and I look forward to growing old together. We have been planning our wedding for quite some time now, much longer than most couples. Geoffrey has been so patient with me. He allowed me time to follow my dreams and have a profession for a while before marrying.
There’s one problem, however, although I’m trying my very best to control my emotions. I’m very upset that marrying automatically means leaving behind a career that I’m passionate about. I’ve wanted to be a nursing sister ever since I was 13 years old and watched a nurse take care of Gilbert Bartlette’s burned hands. I find great joy in helping others be restored to health. Oh, why can’t women have both husbands and a career? Mother angers every time I mention it, but perhaps there is a way; I just have to discover what it is.
I’m trying to force myself not to think about it much. Our nation is young, and so are we. The future is full of promise, possibilities and (hopefully) adventure. Father and my brothers often talk about political tensions and the arms race in Europe, but these stirrings can’t amount to anything. Can they?
Find out what happens to me in Angel of Mercy available now on Amazon.
Updated: 27 October 2020
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