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Footnote: A strange omission in Pernell Roberts life story

Footnote: A strange omission in Pernell Roberts life story

 

A long time People of One Fire member emailed me last night with a question.  Did the packet sent me have any photos of Pernell Roberts as a baby or child?  No!  There is absolutely nothing about Pernell’s childhood in the packet.  No baby pictures . . . no mention of childhood friends . . . no childhood memories of growing up in Waycross.  His life story, as created by him, begins in high school.   It begins in a big way.  He was obviously very popular in high school.  He was a star athlete, had many girlfriends, played in the school band and played in a dance band.  There are several newspaper clippings from the Waycross Journal Herald about his activities as a teenager.   You would think that since he was his parents only child, he would have inherited all his baby pictures and photos of him growing up in Waycross.

What this all means, I don’t know.  Pernell’s birth coincided with the beginning of the Great Depression.  His entire childhood was spent during the Depression.  He became a teenager just as World War II began.  When Pernell was born, his father was a syrup mixer at the local CocaCola plant.  At least he had a job!  Later on in the 1930s, his father became a sales and deliveryman for Dr. Pepper.  Maybe the memories of the Depression Era were too painful for him?  Perhaps there is some deep family secret that he was hiding?  It is interesting that all of Pernell’s four wives were highly educated, two with doctorate degrees.  Perhaps Pernell was embarrassed by his parents’ lack of education and the fact that he was obviously intelligent, but flunked out of college three times.  Anything else I say would be pure speculation.

 

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

9 Comments

  1. csmoke@webound.com'

    My parents were part of the Depression. Later in life, I see that era was intense for them and determined how they lived all their lives. Getting food and clothing was constant concern for them. I live in an area the people are called “hillbillies” ,… they just did not have much of anything, so living away from city civilization and without cash…..getting photographs were a big deal. I know in our families, photos do not start showing up until the mid to late thirties.
    In our families, the only jobs were doing a temporary job for a neighbor…. and usually getting paid for it was sometimes difficult to collect. I lived with my ggrandparents (born in 1876 & 77). I never knew of them having a “job” , social security, or any other. My ggrandmother had some money, and now I think that came from taking butter & eggs to town on Saturdays. My ggrandfather’s father would have received a civil war pension which I think was about $5-7 a month and went to support extended family. Because of affordability , lots of cases there would be only one or two photos of
    a family member… one original, no copies. I think most Depression people had “issues” , so photos or no would not be a surprise.

    Reply
    • The extreme poverty of Roberts’ childhood may explain his silence, but you would think that he would have mentioned some happy memories from his childhood.

      Reply
  2. jamesrhodes666@msn.com'

    My grandparents were farmers from Harris County, GA-later moving to Elmore County, AL. They had no formal education and could not read nor write; however, they knew the earth and were perhaps the most intelligent folks I knew during this time period. Some of the Ph.Ds I met in college did not have the common sense to, as we used to say, “pour pee pee out of a boot…” During my world travels, as I know you know, the most enlightened people I have met, especially from a religious standpoint, have been dirt “poor” farmers. In Asia we have met 90 years olds, in great physical and mental shape, working in the rice paddies. The old values we used to know don’t even appear here in books!

    Reply
  3. nemo.boko@gmail.com'

    Is there any sense of where the name Pernell comes from? I have a GA ancestor named Purnal, which I assume has the same root. Is this a French name? Was it derived from a family name? Just curious if anyone knows.

    Reply
    • There was no explanation of his name in the packet I was mailed. Pernell is normally an English last name, not a first name.

      Reply
  4. markveale@hotmail.com'

    Richard, of course you know that the Natives were or are highly advanced in Advanced Math and left lots of clues about the time of 2500 BC with stone works in Alabama (the flying horse?). Are the (Kolomoki and later time alignment sites) of Tenn. / Western Georgia / Apalachicola also connected to Star signs as well? Thanks for the articles.

    Reply
    • Several Woodland and Early Mississippian sites definitely were, but not sure about other sites. Late Mississippian Lamar Culture towns were definitely NOT associated with constellations, but were formal architectural arrangements The Singer-Moyer Mounds Site in SW Georgia is definitely arranged to match either the Southern Cross or the Pleiades. It is tilted at the exact same angle as Teotihuacan.

      Reply
      • markveale@hotmail.com'

        Well you are like the Priest of Sais and I am like the Greek that looked for ancient history answers!! Thanks. Do you know the star alignment for Kolomoki?

        Reply
        • Kolomoki seems aligned to the State of Colima on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

          Reply

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