More Memories . . .

In the latest HCQ news –

Talking about HCQ, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said “… the Department of Defense and VA have been using it for 65 years. On any given day, VA uses 42,000 doses of this drug, and what we did when this virus first hit us was to use every means necessary to help preserve life.”

Sec. Wilkie also said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), who has been widely praised by the media for his coronavirus handling, had requested “tens of thousands” of doses of hydroxychloroquine.

So listen to the experts, they said. But which ones.

The FDA who says that it will kill you, despite the fact that millions of people take it every day for lupus, arthritis, and other auto-immune diseases. As well as people like me, who took it for malaria in 1962 when we were in South America, and again for a relapse in 1967.

Or the VA who uses it every day with no problems.

Here’s another compilation of two related blogs from the past.

A week ago last year, when we were passing Buckingham Place, we saw a lot of fancy dressed women wearing big hats, getting out of limos, and Jan wondered if Sam was among them.

London Total Tour Buckingham Palace

I’ve talked about Sam, though not by name, a couple of years ago in a long blog post called The Pixelization Of Memory. Here’s some of what I wrote back in 2017.

Believe it or not, Jan and I were recently talking about an old girlfriend of mine this morning. Now Jan’s pretty good about this. She has been known to point out an well-proportioned young lady in a bikini, and I’ve been known to point out a well-muscled guy in tight biker shorts.

I guess you could call it ‘tit for tat’. Or maybe ‘tit for lats’, maybe. Anyway we’ve always had a ‘You can look, but you can’t touch’ philosophy that’s worked for us for over 50 years.

I’ve mentioned in the blog before, how when we visit my relatives in north Alabama, part of me is looking around for old girlfriends when we’re in a restaurant or store. But then it dawned on me that I’m looking for them as they  were at 14, 15, or 16, not as they would be in their 60’s now.

But we were specifically talking about a girlfriend I had when we were living in Colombia, South America and I was 13 and she was 14. Though actually she was just a few months older than me.

Yeah, I know. What kind of girlfriend can you have at 13? But we were close, considered ourselves boyfriend and girlfriend, and spent a lot of time together.

I told Jan, No, I had never followed up on her, or any of my other past girlfriends for that matter. I don’t want to find out they were killed by a drunk driver while in their 20’s, raped and killed by an intruder, or even died in the World Trade Center.

I prefer to keep my memories of them intact, when they were beautiful young teenagers in the prime of life, and not possibly moldering in the ground somewhere. But that’s when I discovered the pixelization problem.

I found that, although I could visualized her generally, wavy red hair, bright green eyes, I could not zoom in on her face in my mind. As I said it was like zooming in a digital photo, with her face becoming more and more blocky and distorted the closer I got. I couldn’t see any details. And it wasn’t just her.

The rest of them were the same way. I could see them generally, but not in detail. Now it’s different with Jan. I met her when I was 18 and we’ve been together ever since. And I can see her, see her face back then, with no problem.

But then she hasn’t really changed all that much. I swear she has picture in an attic somewhere.

And this is what we were talking about in London.

The whole idea started when we were visiting my old hometown in north Alabama a few years ago, and I mentioned to Jan, that I had been checking out people around us, wondering if I would run into one of the several old girlfriends that I had back then. But as I told Jan, I realized that I was looking for them like they looked back when they were 16 or so, not in their 60’s like they are now.

And that’s why Jan brought up Sam as we passed Buckingham Palace.

It all started here.

Beginning when I was 13 we lived in South America for a while, mostly staying at a large old hotel that had both nightly guests, and also long-term residents like us.

Turns out there was a very cute British girl, about 14, also living there. Soft red, curly hair and bright green eyes. Since we were the only English-speaking kids our age around, we naturally ended up hanging out together. She told me her name was Sam (Samantha) and that her father worked for the British government.

After we had been together for a month or so, one day she showed up to where we usually met on the large landscaped grounds, all dressed up for a party, frilly dress, hair piled up on her head, the works. A big change from the shorts and T-shirts she usually wore.

She told me her mother wanted to meet me for afternoon tea at 4pm. Told me in no uncertain terms that I was to dress nice, wear long pants and a nice shirt, and comb my hair. (Yeah, I had hair back then)


As she left, I ask what suite she was in, and she said, “6th floor”. And when I ask what room, she smiled slightly, and said, “You’ll figure it out.” And I did.

When I got off the elevator, there was no hallway, just a vestibule and a set of ornate double doors with a pull rope for a door bell.

A few seconds after I rang the bell, there stood a butler in full regalia, but young and very fit looking, and about 6’6” tall. Looking down at me, he said, “Ah, Master Gregory, right on time, wonderful.”

Then, after he closed the door behind me, he said, “Please follow me. The DUCHESS and LADY Samantha are waiting for you in the library.”

Wait, What?

When I followed Andrews into the library, I found Sam standing behind her mother who was sitting at a writing desk. And I could tell from the look on her face that she was terrified that I was going to screw this up. And knowing me, she had good reason to worry.

After Andrews introduce me, I said, “I’ve never met a Duchess before. Am I supposed to bow, or curtsy?”

Sam blanched white as the proverbial sheet.

Her mother looked at me very seriously, and said, “In this informal situation, neither is required. Then with a big smile she said, “But I would like to see your curtsy sometime.”

With that the ice was broken, and Sam started breathing again.

After that I was regularly invited for tea. The only time the Duchess ever got mad at me was when I made the mistake of referring to Sam as ‘Sam’ instead of Samantha in front of her.

Her eyes flashed black and her voice got cold as she said, “Sa Man Tha”

Turns out that Sam’s stepfather was Consul General, and Sam would inherit her mother’s title someday, a title that had been in the family since the late-1600’s. And with that title came, not one, not two, but three ancestral estates.

But when I asked, Sam said only one of them was really a castle. Well, that was  good to know.

And if that’s not bad enough, it turned out that both Samantha and her mother were actually royalty, and in line for the throne, though in the double-digits position.

But I didn’t tell her, mainly because I didn’t know then, that I also had a close brush with English royalty. This photo is from our visit to Hampton Court, the home of King Henry VIII.

Hampton Court Kateryn Parr Marriage 1000

And this is where my ancestor Katheryn Parr married King Henry on July 12, 1543, and became his sixth, and last, wife. With Henry the 3rd of her four husbands, she was married only two less times than Henry.

And also, like Henry’s wives, Katheryn’s husband’s didn’t fair well, either. His first two died, and Henry only lived for about 3-1/2 years after they were married.

Then about 4 months after Henry died, she married Sir Thomas Seymour, a somewhat scandalous marriage since it was so soon after Henry’s death.

Our ancestor, Mary Seymour, was born on August 30, 1548, with Katheryn dying from childbirth fever six days later at the age of 36. So I’m not related to Henry, but Henry-adjacent, I guess.

However, since Katheryn’s father, Sir Thomas Parr, was a direct descendent of King Edward the III, I guess I do have a little royalty in my blood.

Where all this comes down to me is that my father’s mother, Sara Anne Parr, was born in England and migrated first to Canada and then to the States in the late 1800’s, where my father was born in 1909.

So, getting back to where this all started, was Sam among those limo passengers at Buckingham? I’ll never know, and I don’t want to know. I prefer to remember her when she was 14.

And I never did learn how to curtsy . . . or bow.

Thought for the Day:

“The triumph of Hope over Experience” – Samuel Johnson on 2nd marriages.


One Response to More Memories . . .

  1. Chris says:

    Great story Greg. As they say, or as JD says, I/you got a million of them.

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