The history behind “Rosemary, That’s For Remembrance”

An elderly woman in a beauty parlor wonders why her memory is so bad.

No single event inspired this story. At the time, I didn’t personally know anyone with Alzheimers or dementia, but I had done a great deal of reading on it, and talking to friends who had relatives with it. I also did a great deal of thinking about it. I’ve always had trouble remembering names, and I’ve always been frightened that this predicted memory issues in my future. That fear remains, and so I tried to imagine what it would be like. This story is the result.

The story was published in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix 2 in 2009.

I know I’m old. I can’t help it. They’ll be old one day too, and why don’t they understand that?

Rosemary, That’s For Remembrance

Lydia is completely fictional. I really wanted this story to be in the book, but at first I had a little trouble fitting it into the family trees. Then I realized that the woman whom Lydia did not completely recognize, but who was caring for her, did not have to be her daughter (as in the original story), but could be her close companion Isabeau, who takes her in after Lydia’s husband deserts her.

We’ve met Isabeau as a child in “In the Gingerbread House.”

The story takes place in an old-fashioned unchic beauty salon, which can still be found in various neighborhoods (and, I’m sure, around the country.)

The title, “Rosemary, That’s For Remembrance,” is taken from Ophelia’s speech after she is driven mad: ““There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.”

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