Elvis Presley

Raging Hormones: Why puberty begins at twelve


Raging Hormones: Why puberty begins at twelve

Puberty is a difficult period in the life of a child. Not only are there rapidly progressive physical changes, but also as if mystically or magically materializing out of nowhere, unusual thoughts and proclivities directed toward the opposite gender emerge like a wild Blue Norther rolling across the plains of West Texas.

Most children probably do not have a clue as to the whys and wherefores of what is happening; or at least not until their peers start to disseminate both information and misinformation about sex. I have already mentioned my friend Eddie, who told me that sex was when a man puts his penis in a woman’s ass and then pisses in it. Meanwhile as their parents are wallowing in anticipatory dread about appropriately timing “the talk about birds and bees” in some cases, ironically the children could probably teach their parents a thing or two they didn’t know themselves; Eddie notwithstanding.

When the subject is finally put on the table it is usually accompanied by dire prohibitive warnings about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; or if religion is piled on by evoking the sexual guilt card and the additional threats of eternal damnation, premarital sex becomes a crime against God; a Cardinal sin.

The reason no one can reasonably come to grips with the problem is a lack of scientifically based understanding. That is, the dichotomy between the societal sexual taboos versus the age at which puberty starts can be explained by the fact that biological evolution has remained a constant factor over time while concurrent societal evolution has become more technically complicated. Societal issues outpace and artificially grow further away from those biological roots.

This has created a significant paradox that unintentionally accounts for the mandatory sexual suppression of the adolescent, who is capable of reproductive breeding but who is also incapable of subsequently coping with day to day survival, making a living, and supporting a family. All of this was more easily facilitated when humans lived in communal tribal bands surviving as hunters and gatherers. For human beings it is simply the case that they are both genetically and biologically programmed by design to begin their reproductive cycle at about the age of twelve. This took millions of years to evolve, whereas our modern technologically oriented society has only taken a few hundred.

The emergence of secondary sex characteristics therefore is nothing more than nature’s way of signaling to the rest of the world that a child is announcing: “Hey look at me. I’m ready.”

The human species, by evolutionary standards is relatively frail. Without the modern medical miracles of safe habitats, weapons, tools, decreased maternal and infant mortalities, vaccinations, antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, exotic surgeries, and the other marvels created by life extending sciences, a human being would stand little chance of living past the age of thirty or forty. Face to face with a Grizzly bear, and without a knife or a gun; the bear will always win. In fact, the average life expectancy of a white male in the United States in 1900 was thirty to forty, which oddly enough also correlates well with the female menopause.

Age forty for a human being then, is a biologically programmed time for everything to be “over and out;” so to speak; including the rationale for a number of Medieval royal patricides.

Even so we are still doing better than our Cro-Magnon forebears whose average life expectancy was only twenty-five years, or our European ancestors in the Middle Ages, who barely made it to the age of thirty. That is why European Royal families married off their girls at about age 14 and nobody blinked an eye about it being a form of pedophilia.

To illustrate this point, does anyone not think it odd or ever wonder why Alexander the Great had already conquered half the world before he was twenty-five? He had to seize the day because the odds were critically against him living for even another half decade. Or why is it a fact that most elite athlete’s careers, including tennis, baseball basketball and football are over before they even reach the age of thirty. Or that for certain other athletic endeavors such as Olympic level swimming, and especially for gymnastics, that the age of twenty five is also considered to be “over the hill?”

Mortality issues were also the only omission in the otherwise exceptionally brilliant thinking of America’s forefathers when they drafted the Constitution. If they had even an inkling that someone could actually live to be 90, they would have set term limits for all political offices at the documents’ inception.

In some primitive tribal cultures the rites of passage to adulthood are actually the official signal of availability of the young man or woman for marriage and child rearing. These people for the most part do not fixate on the appropriate age. They fixate more on the biology, which they simply take for granted, with guidance directed only by empirical observation.

The rites of passage of the Jewish Bar Mitzvah or the Catholic Confirmation ceremonies are also neither mystical nor magical. They have simply lost their true identifiable meanings as a marker for official passage into adulthood. The development of breasts and pubic hair on the other hand, has not. What this means is that if a human being had not already reproduced at a young age, his gene pool would basically become extinguished.

Being just two generations removed from my Italian grandmother who was married when she was sixteen, this circumstance was not considered to be anything out of the ordinary; nor did it raise any eyebrows. Even today there are still pockets in the deep rural south where there are teenaged child brides.

Maybe OK as long as it is not your fourteen-year-old first cousin, which coupled with Jerry Lee Lewis’ notoriety, was more the reason that got him into trouble than for actually marrying a child in the first place. Consanguinity in his case was worse in the eyes of his fans than his getting drunk one night and because Jerry, in believing that he had more talent than the King, tried to drive through the gates of Graceland to kill Elvis Presley with a handgun.

What we now have instead is a society that has become so complex that many people are forced to delay having families until they are in their thirties or even forties, which according the biological species time card should be just about the time they would ordinarily become grandparents or even getting ready to clock out for good.

The ultimate, unanticipated ironic consequence of this longevity has left some of today’s generation having to care for two sets of children. Their own, who may not leave home until they are in their mid to late twenties, and their aging, slowly disintegrating parents who may even have to move back in on the heels of their grandchildren’s recent vacancies. This is known today as being “The Sandwich Generation.”

Couple this with the new modern insanity of men and women becoming parents when they are in their fifties, or even worse for men who become fathers in their sixties or seventies and you get:

  • Hey Johnnie. How come only your grandpa brings you to school. What ever happened to your dad?

All of this only leads full circle to the way it was originally designed in the first place; the early orphan phenomenon, which is summarized as follows:

You are born. You give birth. You die. 

Parents, teachers, and clergy lose perspective or understanding why they have such difficult issues when trying to control teenagers. The reason is that ten thousand years ago teenagers were more functional as integral parts of a larger group, and in fact were expected to reproduce as soon as they could to ensure both the survival of the tribe as well as the greater overall survival of the human species. Imagine, then a primeval cave in which Barbie was the doll who had to play with a real baby, while Ken was the buffed dude out hunting a Bison instead of playing X-box.

Hormonal cycles are finely tuned end products of a biological evolution that makes it virtually impossible to beat any rational thought or guilt out of a blossoming adolescent. 

The reason that puberty begins at twelve is very simple. It was designed solely for the preservation of the human race, but not at all for the preservation of parental sanity.


Raging Hormones
© Film: Written and Directed by Michael Dugan


Rock and Roll 1950s-1960s

Rock and Roll

The man that hath no music in himself

Let no such man be trusted  


Even though I did not excel at either baseball, piano or clarinet, when I was a teenager, recorded music became a significant part of my life. I was particularly drawn to the acapella Do-Wop and the Be-Bop of the street corner singers as well as the early electric guitar rock of 1950s and 1960s.

The pining sentimentality of the ballads side by side with the energetic drive of the rock songs played like a sympathetic sine curve over the hormonal surges of America’s youth. It also became the first major hypnotic distraction for the baby-boomer-atomic-bomb generation and began to replace religion as the opiate of the sub-adult masses.

American Bandstand, with its host Dick Clark, were in the vanguard of televising the music while people such as the disc jockeys Allan Freed, Scott Muny, Murray Kauffman, and Wolf Man Jack had become the gospel spreading prophets of the radio airwaves.

My friends and I would buy our favorite 45 speed recordings; spend hours listening to or swapping the discs, and then dream about seeing our favorite groups or stars either in person or in the ersatz zone of black and white televised airwaves. Although our parents thought differently by presupposing that we were rotting our brains, we certainly could have been doing a lot worse in our spare time, such as shoplifting, smoking cigarettes in the protected watershed woods or enticing our little girlfriends to pose for a private collection of naked lady pictures.

I had a transistor radio with a wired earplug that I would take to bed listening under the covers to the Allan Freed Show until late at night, always with the hope that my father would not come into the room to see if I was asleep. If I got caught, I knew I would be punished, most likely by having the primitive I-Pod confiscated. But because I had become hopelessly addicted to the music I was willing to make any potential sacrifice.

Besides, I knew I could get the radio back the next day if I whimpered enough to my mother.

  • But, Mom; Dad just doesn’t understand.
  • You’re right. He doesn’t understand anything. But get your homework done first before you screw that silly thing back into your head.

Most of our parents, who had been influenced by the Big Band era, had little or no understanding or any patience for this new style of music, much of which was felt by the general public, the media and the bureaucracy to be corrupted by the influence of black musicians.

There was a great sentiment in America that the music was dirty, degenerate, and rife with too many sexual overtones or innuendos all of which thus had the potential to undermine the entire fabric of the society. Just the sight of Elvis Presley’s suggestively gyrating hips and wiggling pelvis on the Ed Sullivan Show was enough to cause major apoplexy in the entire Southern Bible Belt. Trust me on this one. It wasn’t exactly so much penis envy as much as it was the fear of setting loose and liberating the penis itself.

In truth, the music was one of the first elements that actually had a positive influence on integrating the entire society because it had a commonality that spoke across many races or cultures, thus transcending bias and bigotry. But in those days there were also significantly powerful well established elements both in government and society that feared and loathed the very idea of racial integration, in turn viewing the music in such a negative light that they then felt obligated to extinguish it.

The teenagers of America, however, knew what they liked and their affinity for the new sounds was never to be derailed despite parental, societal, religious or even Federal Governmental pressures all conspiring independently or as a group to suppress it. Rock and Roll had been infused into the blood of America’s youth as it had uncontrollably spread like the new strain of a wildly contagious virus.

Today it is reasonably known that J. Edgar Hoover had a passionate hatred for Rock and Roll. He became personally convinced that it was a morally corrupting form of entertainment, rooted in black culture, which left to itself would destroy America’s white youth, then subsequently and inevitably, the entire culture.

This was an interesting phobia coming from a man who would eventually be determined to have lived his entire job for life ‘au gourmand’, with a male companion, trans-sexually outfitted in pink dresses when he came home from a hard day of forcing his own brand of morality down America’s throat. Suppression of Rock and Roll was probably one of the more benign things that Hoover did to America.

Hard pressure from top government agencies like Hoover’s FBI caused both subtle as well as not so subtle attempts to eradicate the evil noise. Congress held hearings on payola as the government even went after the likes of the lily-white Dick Clark who lost a contract on WINS Radio in New York because of scandalous accusations of graft. He caved in by deciding that the best part of valor was not to protest too much.

Higher visibility Disc jockeys like Allen Freed, who brought the black groups out from relative obscurity, got into serious trouble, when for example on one of his live ABC-TV shows in 1957, Frankie Lyman committed the grievously unthinkable sin of actually dancing on stage with a white girl. The Southern TV affiliates screamed bloody murder as they rushed to cancel contracts with the parent company.

Unfortunately for Freed, he was already in trouble for giving himself the sexually suggestive endurance moniker: “The Sixty Minute Man,” because this was also an era, when at least on the surface, women were expected to equally endure but not to enjoy sex. It was on the surface a neo-Victorian era when the White housewife of America was cast in the image of a duty bound, sexually indifferent vehicle designed and programmed only for the purposes of breeding, keeping house and making dinner.

Meanwhile, many of the lyrics by Black musicians implied a sub-Rosa agenda that sex was normal or that it could actually be fun, too. This Black musical heritage was rooted more simply at the reality level in the life of everyday relationships, along with the unspeakable concept that somehow drugs, alcohol and sex might make it ever so much easier for people to cope with those realities.

Freed was also accused of inciting a “Rock and Roll Riot” at the Boston Arena in 1958 with his boisterous, exuberant MC on-stage machinations that were deemed at best to be “grossly obscene.” Then when he was forced to confront the accusation at a congressional hearing investigating possibly taking money under the table as a bribe to play songs on the radio, the simple but directly truthful statement summed up Freed’s defense on the payola charge:

  • Senator, I never played a song that I didn’t like.

A career in ruin, Freed drank himself to death at the age of forty-three; the only real sin having been his love of Rock and Roll music and a great desire to provide the venues for people to hear it.

Shortly after the payola scandals ruined the careers of people like Allan Freed, or with the harassment and occasional arrests of some of the black musicians, like Chuck Berry, usually on flimsy charges of smoking marijuana or activities stemming from being drunk and disorderly, then especially after Buddy Holly’s death in 1959, there truly was a time in America when beside Holly, finally the music too had literally died.

Most of the stations I listened to in New York stopped playing Rock and Roll as they drifted back to more conservative musical venues. It was hard to get any contemporary play as the airwaves were rapidly becoming void of rocking tunes and love ballads.

For awhile it seemed that the Congressional Anti-Happiness Committee was on the verge of a securing a victory that would relegate Rock and Roll to the historical footnote of being a brief cultural insanity; possibly just being no better than how we all had come to remember the Hoola-Hoop craze: just a passing fancy.

Although I was too young to understand the political implications of what was happening, I was not too young to know that the whole scenario was literally making me very sad and very blue.


Allen Freed

(Allen Freed)

Just let me hear some of that Rock and Roll music

Any old way you choose it.

It’s got a backbeat, you can’t lose it.

Any old way you use it.

It’s gotta be Rock and Roll music

If you want to dance with me

If you want to dance with me.

(Chuck Berry)

Photo source www.philbrodieband.com/quiz-pic_allen-freed.jpg

Haircuts (1960s)


I hated to get my hair cut. I also hated my hair in general because most of the time it never did what I wanted it to do no matter how it was cut or how much pomade I used.

When I was in high school, I thought my persona resided entirely within my hair.   Occasionally when I got it just right, I would not want to wash it, would sleep on it in only one position, or walk around stiff legged like I had crapped my pants, so that none of it would move out of place. Windy days could be catastrophic for a perfect coif.

At the time I entered high school in 1962, the haircut rage was the Elvis Presley slicked back pompadour, otherwise known as the D.A. (Ducks Ass) style. One needed a lot of hair to get this effect both on the top as well as on the sides. One also needed a lot of Posner’s Hair Pomade a product that was popular with black men before Elvis came along, as they used it to straighten out their curls so that they could look more like “whities.”

Louie, a handsome Italian boy with jet-black hair, a swagger to his walk and a cocky attitude wore this style. Because it seemed to make all the girls swoon, the rest of the boys mistook the hairstyle as being the key to his success. But it was more than that. What we had missed was that his persona resided in his overall attitude; but not in his hair. He was quite debonair being classified by what we referred to as being a “Rock,” as opposed to being a “Punk” like the rest of us. He wore taps on his shoes, raised his shirt collar and rolled up his sleeves so that he projected the James Dean image.

He was also an athletic star on both the wrestling team as well as the A-team in Little League Baseball where he usually marched in the opening day parade at the front like a homecoming king. Louie never worried about how his hair looked, but combed it incessantly like the T.V. star Kookie. Whenever it got messed up, it always combed itself right back into perfect place, as if every single strand knew where to find its home. It wasn’t fair because with a combination of my brains and his hair, I might have been able to rule the universe.

It was not that I could ever be that cool or that my hair would ever actually be the type that would hold the style, but I never even got the chance to know for sure. As soon as one hair got the least bit long or out of control or over the ears, my parents sent my brother and me to the barbershop; but not just any barbershop. We had to travel the five miles south to White Plains to use my father’s barber, Nunzio, because it was some kind of Italian paisano thing between the two of them.

  • Hey Nunzio. You cut all the hair and I fix all the teeth. O.K?”
  • O.K., Sally boy.

Nunzio had the classically popular 1940’s David Niven mustache, wore a slick, starched white four button tunic, and had a three-chair shop with an unruly pile of magazines on the back table. He also had long silver hair that he slicked back with Italian hair gel, the older version of Louie, and ran a tight ship that had virtually no waiting time. This was because the haircuts took about fifteen minutes at a cost of $1.25 with a 25-cent tip. The reason that the waiting times were so short was because every time Nuzio laid scissors to my scalp, or for that matter anyone else’s under the age of eighteen, the result was always the same. Short on the side but too long on the top like a plate of pasta plopped on an upside down ceramic Italian serving bowl.

He called it a “regular” but I think it was a “singular” style of young boy’s haircut that he had learned in the old world and imported from Italy when he emigrated. Personally, I always thought that Mussolini must have invented it at about the same time he made all the trains on time, such that in a pitch for national unity and conformity, people like Nunzio simply capitulated by going along for the conforming fascist ride. At the end of the cut, Nunzio would sharpen his straight razor on a strop to do the final trim while always predictably stating the few words that commanded absolute immediate obedience:

  • Now keep-a your head still so I don’t slice off-a your neck.

I would complain so much to my father about the results that he finally said:

  • OK, OK then. Next time, just tell Nunzio to “shape it.”

Hope against hope that this might do the trick, the next time I went in, I asked for a “shape it” instead of a “regular” and came out looking the same, just as scalped and just as intimidated by the final razor touches. So much for that stupid idea.

My mother said I could never get a D.A. haircut anyway, so I just had to live with the fact that I would never be cool like Louie, but invested in some pomade anyway which I used to slick back the top part as much as I could. She always wanted my brother and me to get a crew cut like our cousin Byron, but she had failed to realize that Byron lived in another culture known as Virginia, and that a crew cut in New York would have been equivalent to committing social suicide.

She had also forced my hair to part on the right side since it had first sprouted, while always seeming to take great personal pleasure in the fact that this was so different from the norm of the majority of males who always have left hand parts. She said it made me more unique, but I was not clever enough then to point out to her that the only men of any notoriety I know who had right hand hair parts were Stalin and Hitler, a trivial historical fact that might have made her change her mind.

My brother and I would have suffered with Nunzio until we were emancipated had it not been for the fact that we eventually discovered some magazines at the bottom of the big pile in the back of the shop featuring pictures of nude women; a treasure trove that made the haircut trips much more interesting and tolerable. At some point when we were old enough to take the bus we would make it a point to arrive at Nunzio’s as early as possible so that we could catch furtive peeks at the pictures while pretending to look for regular news or such. Meanwhile back at home my mother was only left to ponder why we had such a sudden change of heart about what used to be such an ordeal. She chalked it up to “maturity.”

I think that Nunzio, in realizing what was good for business, never seemed too interested in what we were doing in the back and never bothered to scold us. As opposed to my mother’s view of maturity, Nunzio probably thought we were turning out to be real men after all, despite the fact that the haircuts, in our minds, truly belied the fact.

In the long run it didn’t matter too much anyway because everything about hair changed for good the day the Beatles came to town.

As for Louie, he dropped out of high school and went to work as a truck delivery assistant distributing wholesale potato chips for a local food company. He was making what seemed like quite a lot of money at the time, which aside from the hair, his looks or by being an icon of virility also helped him attract a few extra girlfriends. This unfortunately made leaving school early also look like it might be the very thing to do. But even if that subject came up once, it was never heard again and banned from discussion forever in our household.

Dropping out was strictly forbidden and considered a social anathema on a par with impregnating one’s girlfriend, then being forced to marry her. Good boys who wanted to succeed in life didn’t do either; and so the subject would be dropped after one simple warning:

  • Drop out of school and you can move out of the house and support yourself. Same thing if you get someone pregnant.

Now as an adult when it really doesn’t matter at all anymore because the follicles on top of my scalp are fairly sparse, people will sometimes notice and remark:

  • Hey, did you just get your hair cut?

To which I will usually respond by saying:

  • No. This time I just set the barber loose and let him cut all three of them.




Thy name is humanity

Cousins 1

Cousins 1 

Aunt Rose and Uncle Ed had two children, Linda and Rosemary. Linda was about two years older than I was, a different gender with an altogether separate agenda; so I never really bonded with her. Uncle Jim and Aunt Kay had two children, Laura and Jimmy, otherwise wise known as “Little Jimmy.” Laura was Linda’s age, so naturally the two of them usually aggregated and then segregated themselves from the other children. Laura had a great sense of humor, being very sarcastic in a jocular way that made her fun. Linda, on the other hand, was a straight laced, humorless clone of her mother.

“Rosemary” must have been a matronymic derivative combining both her mother and the Virgin mother’s names. Perhaps this binary legacy was too much to live up to, as she reflected neither persona; usually being relatively non-verbal, sullen and withdrawn. She was about four years younger than Linda and never seemed to be included in the older sister’s holiday activities. She ate almost nothing at any of the family gatherings. But I was too naïve to ask her if it was because she was equally nauseated as I was by this Holy Day of Obligation, or if it was because there was something else going on in her life.

Because the children were consigned to their own table in the kitchen to keep them ferreted away from the adults; Rose would periodically come in from the dining room to check on, to coddle and to perseverate as she prodded her daughter. She called her “Poodgie”

  • What’s the matter Poodgie. Aren’t you hungry? Don’t you want to eat some of this nice food? Grandma made it just for you. It’s your favorite. Raviolis. You know you love raviolis. Come on, Poodgie. Eat. Eat. You’ll feel better. Eat. Eat. If you don’t eat you’ll just waste away.

No wonder she never ate. Rosemary would just sit with her arms crossed, frowning, pouting, and then eventually escaped to her room. She was not in any way emaciated, so I knew she had to be eating something, somewhere, at some point in time; but there also was little doubt that some hidden social or eating disorder was still darkly lurking; secreted somewhere in the background. In retrospect I occasionally wonder what may have gone on behind closed doors to possibly make Rosemary the way she was, while heavily discounting in my own mind that it was anything but fawning, coddling and gentle prodding. Although it then became another one of those predictable annual discussions for everyone to ask ‘what’s the matter with Rosemary?’ everyone then just went about the usual business of Christmas leaving the question of “what’s the matter with Rosemary or why she never ate dinner?” to go perpetually unanswered.

One particularity vivid holiday memory occurred when Laura and Linda were excitedly squealing about getting some 45-speed recordings of a new musical phenomenon named Elvis Presley, then playing them repetitiously in the bedroom. At first I thought they were crazy because the music was so strange, but that opinion quickly reversed as I too soon embraced the new musical ideology of Rock and Roll.

Meanwhile, although Uncle Jimmy was a wholesale dealer for Columbia records, and could have supplied me with plenty of free vinyls over the years, he somehow never seemed to have any of the good contemporary Rock performers.  He would periodically show up at our house to give my parents piles of LP albums with a big red ink “DEMONSTRATION: Not for Sale” stamped on the front or the back.

None of them were recognizable as famous contemporary artists or headlining songs but instead was just all the junk that could not be sold anywhere, as they moldered away in his dead inventory pile. When he needed some room for more junk, he just “generously” purged the trunk of his car in our driveway. My father said it was a thoughtful gesture whereas my mother suggested it was an oblique insulting innuendo about our lack of sophisticated musical taste.

For example although I never did get any of Bob Dylan’s albums, I still have a copy of the ever-popular and ever generic, so-not Tito Puente,  bottom of the five thousand hit parade album: “The Calypso Carnival.”


Calypso Carnival


Cause it’s the chicken gumbo

And the Okra water

Makes you do the things you out to

(Calypso aphrodisiac song)




Gene Pool: Passing for White

Watch Out: There’s a Melungeon in the Wood Pile 

I originally thought my 2% Jewish DNA had to originate from my father, as many Italians can trace their genetic origins to the Middle East. However, I have a second cousin on my mother’s side who has a DNA pattern similar to mine along with some derived from the Berbers of North Africa and Spain. Further investigation revealed that my 5th Great Grandfather, William Cooper, who descended from a Sephardic Jewish London shop-keeper was roaming around Southeast Colonial America in the 1700s.

Cooper was an Indian Trader, acted as a Spanish speaking scout for Daniel Boone and married a half breed Choctaw or Cherokee woman. Her father was Issac Labon; a dispossessed Sephardic Jew who also emigrated from London. This means that my 7th great grandmother and both of my 8th great grandparents were full blooded Native Americans.

The best explanation for this phenomenon is rooted in the  three great diasporas created by the Spanish Inquisition; which lasted for over three centuries after about 1440. Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jews, as well as Muslim Berbers living in these countries were given three choices: Convert to Catholicism, not to convert and forcibly leave the country without money, precious metal or belongings, or stay and face immediate execution, often by public burning at the stake; the infamous auto-da-fe.

The Berbers may have been descendants of the Carthaginians, who settled North Africa and then went to Spain in the Islamic conquest of the southern part of this country where they probably intermarried local Sephardic Jews. In the Spanish Catholic re-conquest of Muslim southern Spain, all these groups were persecuted, murdered and dispossessed; causing over a million souls to flee to Europe or elsewhere. Some, including William Cooper’s ancestors became French Huguenots; who were then subsequently persecuted in that country and fled to England.

The Coopers variously described their origins as Black Irish, Black Scots, Portuguese, Spanish, and French Huguenot. In this case although other mixed race early Americans may have descended from shipwrecked slaves; the references to “black” has more to do with dark olive skin color than continental African racial origin. In fact, it was commonplace for East Coast American Indians to intermarry the dark skinned outcasts from Europe, who had found their way to the New World as early as the 1500s and circulated easily among the natives. Then over the years, Indian and Jewish/Berber features tended to fade as more of these people or their offspring inter-married European Caucasians.

Eventually becoming labelled Melungeons, these pariah groups settled large enclaves in the Appalachian area; began Original or First Baptist Churches that retained certain semblances to ceremonial Jewish culture and also had a significant presence in beginning the Masonic Temples; that also eschewed conventional New Testament ideology.Masons do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah; defaulting rather to the teachings of John the Baptist. Original Baptists have no steeples or crosses on their churches, no icons or crucifixes in the interior, sing Cantor led acapella line-hymns, subscribe to full immersion Baptism, avoid using Christian Saint’s names for their children, and circumcise their males.

In one tragic case of 18th century genetic misinterpretation in Appalachia, a man married a woman who was a light skinned Melungeon. Not knowing that her father was very dark; when the baby arrived dark skinned too; he killed both wife and child; thinking that the child was not his own.

Interestingly; Daniel Boone, Elvis Presley, and Abraham Lincoln are all considered to be members of this “Last Lost Tribe.”

Ironically enough, although my mother was a cognitive bigot, she did frequently tell us that family folklore stated we were French Huguenot and part Cherokee. We thought she was crazy; but now realize the power of verbally transmitted heritage.  Coincidentally, both my second cousin and my brother have very dark skin. My brother never burns in the sun and my mother always referred to him as being “her little Indian;” a little Indian that my father occasionally wanted to kill too, but not because he thought the child was a bastard.

But we all passed for White; Anglo-Saxon…. and Protestant, too; leaving the Native American/Berber/Jewish heritage hidden somewhere buried close to the bottom of the family wood pile. Also, having survived the 15th century Spanish Holocaust; as being part Sephardic, we can rightfully say to the Ashkenazi; that we reserve certain bragging rights on being at the head of the line for various attempts at European Jewish genocide.

 Snapping TurtleSnapping Turtle: A half-breed Cherokee

Photo source :      http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/the-five-civilized-tribes-in-oklahoma.htm

Some data from: Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America by Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman and Donald Panther-Yates: Cooper Family Tree: http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/p/a/n/Donald-N-Pantheryates/BOOK-0001/0007-0001.html