THE SPECTER OF POCAHONTAS

I received an email this morning. Nothing unusual there, but the message devolved to the very quizzical in a hurry. It was rather lengthy, to boot,

I didn’t know the sender, although he had the fairly common last name of Berger. I knew a few kids in school named Berger.

This Berger, however, wrote from his home in Livermore, California. At the tender age of 85, he is still employed there as a Nuclear Physicist.

OKay. As the author of MEMOIRS of a JERSEY FARM BOY, I frequently correspond with Nuclear Physicists. If you wish for me to tell you another one, I can do that, too !

Mr. Berger wanted to enthuse about my book and thanked me profusely for writing it.

His message went on to explain that, as a kid, he lived just outside of our very own Clinton, N.J. That proximity lead him to plenty of farm employment as a youngster. Consequently, he had first hand appreciation for many subjects in the book.

If you’ve read the book yourself (if not, why not ?) you may recall my descriptions of 7th grade. You may further recall my descriptions of the teacher for that grade…. Mrs. Berger!!

Us cruel 7th graders surreptitiously referred to her as Pocahontas . (It’s all in the book.)

Then came the curveball of the day. As Mr. Berger’s email explained, he was Mrs. Berger’s son ! WHOA!

Right away, beads of sweat formed on my forehead. Had I written anything disrespectful about this guy’s Mom?! Pocahontas was bad enough.

Read the vignette. You’ll understand my concern.

Suddenly the distance between slow-dancing bodies gained new focus!

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