When my daughter Suzanne moved to her present home, she gave me her new address and said an easy way to remember the street number was to think of the War of 1512.
"Wait a minute," I said. "That was the War of 1812. There was no War of 1512."
"Well," she said, "I'm sure some war was going on in 1512."
Ever since then--and it's been a few years now--whenever I mail something to Zannie I remember the War of 1512. Except I've never been very clear on who was at war. So I recently ran it past Google.
It turns out that in 1512 Russia invaded the Grand Duchy of Lithuania again. And the Battle of Ravenna, fought on April 11, 1512 by forces of the Holy League and France, was a major battle of the War of the League of Cambrai in the Italian Wars. And that is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
I found it hard to envision the forces of the Holy League (did they sport halos? habits? bibles?), so the next time I addressed an envelope to my daughter Tartar-eyed Russians charged into a quiet Lithuanian village, pale-skinned villagers scattering. I've always liked Russians, but these days I've been rooting for the Lithuanians, who seem to me to be the underdogs. I think it's time I looked up the rest of the story and learned how the war ended. In the case of war, at least, endings are better than beginnings.