Fear of Forgetting

26 Mar

This morning it occurred to us that we could only remember five of the six wives of Henry VIII.  To us, this was no laughing matter.  It bothered us as much as the day last year that we temporarily forgot the name of the actor George Clooney.  We’d seen Clooney in lots of movies, such as “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, “Michael Clayton”, and “Three Kings.”  Not to remember the guy’s name was just not acceptable.  Later that day, when we weren’t trying so hard, his name came back to us and George Clooney was George Clooney once again. Whew!

This morning’s wade into the River of Forgetfulness was just as troubling.  What if a radio station called and offered a free automobile if we could only rattle off the names of the Henry’s six wives? We’d loose the car for sure.  We grabbed a pen and paper and wrote down what we could remember:

Catherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn
Anne of Cleves
Catherine Howard
Catherine Parr

There was a name missing, we knew that, but whose was it?  Were all of Henry VIII’s wives Catherines or Annes?  There had to be an outlier, one that was neither a Catherine nor an Anne. Let’s see –  which ones were beheaded?  Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. No help there – they were accounted for.  What was that mnemonic we’d once heard? Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced Beheaded, Survived.  That was it!  The missing wife died, so she fit in the space between Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves. Oh well, we were at work.  Must attend to other matters. Above all, we had to stay off the Web.  If we were ever to recall the name of this elusive Tudor wife, we had to do it ourselves.

We returned to this question off and on all day between our work duties.  As usually happens when we find ourselves troubling over facts that are not central to our everyday lives,  the answer suddenly came to us when we weren’t really thinking about it: Jane Seymour.  We felt a rush of relief.  Maybe we weren’t on the brink of senility after all.  The radio station could call us now and the car would be ours.

Ya had us worried there, Jane.

Ya had us worried there, Jane.


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