Hank’s Identity

He followed the stretcher into the emergency room. It wasn’t Marion’s first emergency visit to the hospital. The staff knew him as Hank Shaw. People didn’t often refer to to him as Hank unadorned; he was always Hank Shaw of Foster Shaw Building and Design. The only person who had ever called him Henry was his mother. She’d been gone for nearly twenty years. He thought of himself as Henry in the context of his relationship with her or when he was afraid. The public perception of him was of a person one did not contradict. Hank was known for integrity and impatience. People took what he dished out because he was fair, always. He took less than he deserved so that others would have what they needed. He was unmistakable in his uniform: Sperry Topsiders, ragg socks, jeans, chamois shirts in the winter canvas in the summer, and a faded low profile baseball cap squaring the full beard he’d grown after college so people would accept him as a man.

His family had been in town for the entire 250 years of its history. They’d worked in the lumber industry and gone on to become renowned builders and cabinet makers. Hank had been unsure of what he wanted to do with his life. He hadn’t intended to follow in his ancestors’ footsteps. He didn’t want to be spoon-fed and spoiled. It had broken Foster IV’s heart when he’d refused to spend high school summers pounding nails in favor of digging clams and worms on the flats. His mother bridged the ravine between them, noting Henry’s affinity for math  and order as well as a determined independence, when she suggested architecture. He spent college breaks and summers pounding nails at Foster Shaw to finance a semester in Finland studying design for his degree. His mother had been a wise woman. He’d gone to work at Foster Shaw and earned the respect of Foster IV and the skilled carpenters on the crew. He did not give up his independence and no one, who watched him work, accused him of being spoon-fed.


About elroyjones

Married, no children, responsibly self-directed, living happily.
This entry was posted in Autonomy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Hank’s Identity

  1. jatwood4 says:

    Elroy, you have a real gift for the details of characterization — I can see Hank as clearly as if he were standing right in front of me. Your strength is one of my weaknesses. 😎

    • elroyjones says:

      I take characteristics from the people I love in the tangible world and apply them in my imaginary world. Hank’s wardrobe comes right out of one of our friend’s closets. I’m liking this story and the characters are insistent but I have to get on with my day job!

  2. . . . like a cat with a mouse, a spider with a fly, a cheerleader with a horny fullback . . . (I won’t bring up, someone holding all the oars.)

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