Forbidden Prehistoric Love

Header image: "Le Moustier" by Charles R. Knight -Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

New conclusions reached about a 2008 archaeological find support the notion that we humans  mixed genes with our near-relatives, the Neanderthals, many thousands of years ago.

We weren’t that different.  Contrary to popular belief the so-called “cavemen” had brains that were roughly the same size as ours, and our developmental speed was similar.

My favorite line from the Live Science article is this one:

Probably the most debated aspect of Neanderthal life in recent years is whether or not they interbred with humans. The answer remains ambiguous, with scholarly opinions ranging from belief that they definitely interbred to belief that the two groups didn’t exist on earth at the same time.

I’ve known couples just like that – hard to believe they could exist on earth at the same time.

Thoughts about a human-Neanderthal love affair lead to so many questions, not the least of which is how to pitch your woo to a near-but-not human partner.

“Interbreeding” is such an ugly term, I decided it would be a fitting challenge to try to work it into one of the the prettiest love songs I know.

You have such broad and stocky features,
the ridge across your brow seems so strong.

Our lips (I have to stoop to reach yours)
are whispering, perhaps, that our love is wrong.

The way you wield a club. Your ugly scar.
A hot Neanderthal is what you are!

Ice age! It feels so cold and lonely.
But this age can be more tender and kind.
When interbreeding’s on my mind.

Alas, it is tough to keep the romance alive between such mismatched characters when fire and tools are all they have in common.

What  artifact might fuel speculation about your extinct love affairs?

81 thoughts on “Forbidden Prehistoric Love”

  1. A large box of letters from my HS boyfriend. My brother sent it to me when he was clearing out my growing-up home after my mother died. I read a couple but then decided to save the others for some rainy day. It’s been at least 10 years but apparently we’ve had a drought.

    It probably seems silly to want to read them but he wrote very thoughtful and cleaver letters and we are now in once-or-twice-a-year communication so it could be interesting. I’m sure he drove the post office crazy because he would make envelopes out of odd things and use 1/4 cent stamps to cover the surface, wrapping my name and address around the edge.
    Maybe when I retire…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have a box sealed and carefully stashed in a closet from the s&h’s dad. I expect my great-granddaughter will find it fascinating reading when she is a young adult. I should be long gone by then, and I want her to have them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Being brief, as I have told this before: the collection of poems my wife and I exchanged at work, first funny and later romantic, which she had printed and bound at Webb Publishing (where she worked) as my college graduation gift.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We are just completing end-of-life instructions for our daughter to manage, nothing complicated. But the poems are to be destroyed.

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  3. Every so often I sort through my stash of letters from friends (fairly current), and save the last one I have from each friend. I’ve been happy about this practice, as there are some from people no longer on this earth. The box containing these gems is on my top closet shelf, so there may well be one from an ancient romance. Hmmm, might have to go look sometime this weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I TRY to do the same thing with voicemails (but I know I have more than one from some people).
      After my mother died, my sister worked to save the last voicemail from her (it was on some old answering machine). With that in mind, I keep at least one from my three most important people: sister, #1son and #2son. Oh, and HS boyfriend, too.

      On a less pleasant note, I have kept some voicemails from #2son as he descended into psychosis in 2008. I never listen to them (just re-save without listening to them when the VM system says my mailbox is full). The last couple of times, I have deleted one. Eventually they’ll be gone.
      Just like his symptoms.

      I don’t know why I can’t just delete the lot of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I have a painting in the living room, a very lovely reproduction of Cezanne’s The Bridge at Maincy, that an artistic and smitten love painted for me when i was in my early 20’s. Husband know the whole story and really likes the painting, too..There are circumstances surrounding the relationship and its demise that I don’t want to share with my children, but I somehow have to convey to them that the painting is special and I want it kept in the family after I am gone.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My RCA Victor 45 record player with Light My Fire by the Doors queued up. “Try now we can only lose
    And our love become a funeral pyre.”
    Yep. We (really, “I”) lost back in ’67. But I was comforted by the Troggs Love Is All Around also in ’67 and found that to be true.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A Grateful Dead CD (all acoustic) from one former beau and an unopened bottle of chocolate sprinkles from another. The Grateful Dead beau would be interesting to run into sometime – the chocolate sprinkles beau I still see once or twice a year at social gatherings (and at least every couple of years we still giggle about what precipitated the gift and that it still is in a box in my house). When CS beau got married a couple years ago I threatened to give him back the bottle and was informed that he would be crushed if I did. It meant more that I still had it. Plus, he’d never be able to explain why there ever was a bottle of sprinkles (his lovely wife knows he and I dated, it’s the sprinkles themselves that are inexplicable to all but the two of us).

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well…okay…if you insist…so I dated a guy really into the Grateful Dead. Loved them – they were his favorite band. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that they sounded perpetually out of tune to my ear. He played an all-acoustic CD of theirs that was at least not awful and I said I liked it. So he bought me a copy for some gift-appropriate occasion or other. Have listened to it twice maybe since we quit dating. Oh – you wanted to know about the sprinkles instead?… 😉

        Liked by 4 people

        1. yeah the dead are great to run into on someone elses songlist but the never make mine.
          i saw dylan one time after carlos santana. imagine carlos and his long ringing notes that cry and make you soar with soe singing that have you swaying in your chair, then dylan came out and his band was so out of tune i started laughing. he wasnt about perfect pitch. he was about the vibe and the moment and the celebration of the music. i think the dead was the same cloth. it was the experience and the celebration not the perfect pitch that made their magic.
          i like them for that reason more than their contributions to the song book of the universe. (the dead not dylan) and the fact that they encouraged taping all their concerts and having your own memories of the bootleg you created.
          and jerry garcia made good ties too

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  7. Way OT – there are five, six, no, seven squirrels playing Ultimate Tag out on the big tree out back. Since almost all of its limbs are gone, I can see most of their movements, and they’re really putting on a show this morning. I’m glad we moved the computer down to this window.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. When I edited the magazine about regional outdoor recreation I got a call from a reader who claimed he had shot the world record cottontail rabbit. He wanted me to authenticate this. How would anyone score a dead bunny? Ear length? Size of the tail?

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    1. I sit at my computer and watch as many as a dozen at a time through the leafless woods. The field next to us was poorly combined, leaving many ears of corn behind. They squirrels go find them, fight over them, try to drag the big ones up the trees and fail, or “bury” the small ears in crotches of the trees. I gathered up many many ears. Every day I hang one from a spring cable and out a small one in a suet feeder and watch them labor to get out the kernels.

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        1. tim, we had one of those at our cabin. It was fun watching the squirrels, although they worked out the technique for it so quickly we didn’t get to see them frustrated. Then bears moved in and began eating the corn, so we had to shut down the concession.

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  8. I had a box of old letters to and from girlfriends from my undergrad affairs. They were so embarrassing that reading them wasn’t good for my health, and they didn’t make the trip to Portland. I also had a book of Rod McKuen’s poetry given to me the year I got married to my erstwife. She now would be equally uncomfortable with her youthful choice of McKuen and me. But then we all (or most of us) were young and romantic once, and a few human girls developed crushes on Neanderthal guys. Rod McKuen’s poetry didn’t make the trip to Portland.

    On my hard drive I have scripts from Skype conversations with someone who was a romantic interest more recently. I keep them for my daughter and because they are actually pleasant to read now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rod McKuen died on Thursday. My sister had some of his books as a teenager, and gave them to her daughter, who adores them. She posted about his death on Facebook: “Few lines in poetry have warmed my heart quite like, ‘I am what I am, sulking will not change that, but apple pies and warm hands help, and I have never known a cat that couldn’t calm me down by walking slowly past my chair.’ (Listen to the Warm, 1967)”. This post was illustrated with a black & white photo of McKuen with his cat. The cat is perched on a stack of record albums on a 70’s-era tuner next to a turntable, and is nudging McKuen’s face with its forehead. The photo is very evocative of its time.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sandy and I were married the summer of 1965. We, more my daughter, have planned a small, simple celebration with only a dozen or so guests invited to a buffet in a condo near Two Harbors.
    It is surprising how few artifacts we have to leave. My kids are not THINGS people. Each is taking a few items. My daughter will take the craftsman style grandfather clock I built and matching book case. My son the carved chess set and a child’s rocker from his childhood.
    My son for the first time in 15 months has a job. We have as a family been through a very trying time with this, many other complications are associated with those months. He graduated from IOS programming school in December, which is a career shift, but still in the same general industry. Two weeks from Monday he starts his new job in La Jolla, a job in the high-rent district. He is leaving Seattle, a place he loves, but now he will be near his son and can start supporting him. He could have worked in Seattle, but . . .
    His son is now at the sitting stage, 15 months, so I have to ship the rocker, which will cost a bit, but it must be there.
    In our apartment are about 145 carvings, only one not by my hand. I want to start giving them away, but Sandy does not want to part with any. I have as of this moment framed or in boxes, mostly in boxes, about 100 drawings and pastels. I am reluctant to give carvings or art away because I do not want to foist off on friends things they really do not want.
    With the five pain and distortion issues in my hands, I cannot wear my wedding ring. I estimate its gold value at about $1400 dollars (it is thick and wide). We could use the money, but how can I sell that. I am trying to decide what to tell my daughter about how to deal with it. Sandy would not like if I say to sell the gold, but my very practical daughter would be willing, may anyway. Since we are giving our bodies to the U of M, Sandy’s modest jewelry will also be there for them to deal with. Wedding ring and diamonds, worth about $2500. I am sure my daughter will want to use the diamonds.
    My wife has every card I have ever given her. She gave me 25 years ago a gold money clip, a measure of how my wife thinks. I have never carried cash.
    Our song was, and how strange are we, “Across the Wide Missouri.” We once had 14 records with the song on it, sung by everyone from the Mormon Choir to Woody Guthrie. All are ling gone.
    I suppose the real artifact of our love are our bodies, going back to the U of M medical school, where we met and courted.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t recall if I shared this last week, but last weekend we took my wedding ring, circa 1949, (it formally belonged to my mother in law, who died before we were married), my mother’s wedding ring from 1942, and the ring dad got her on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary, and took them to a jeweler in Fargo. They are being melted into a new design along with just a little bit of added gold, and the stones will be set in the new ring. I am really excited about this. Perhaps that is what your daughter can do with your and her mom’s jewelry.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. In about 1986, I took a reasonably sized gold wedding ring and a silver mock-up of the same ring made by wasband’s uncle (he sent us the silver one from Idaho to get our approval on the design before committing to gold) to a we-buy-gold place and was offered about $9.95 for the two. So the idea of $1400 seems quite amazing to me.
      (I was insulted by the price offered and so didn’t sell them. They are in my secret hiding place to this day.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My wife says this was the story. We took in her version of the ring to have a diamond mounted on it, a diamond I gave her a few years before for a necklace. She brought my ring with her to have it cleaned too. The jeweler said that if they had my ring, they would sell it for $1400 as an antique ring (I guess I am antique, too), that rings like ours are seldom made anymore, at that weight. Gold at that point was high. So I am not sure what the gold value is BUT: a month later I decided I would wear the ring around my neck and went to buy a chain for it, which would need to be at the heavier end of the scale. The chain would have cost something like $1400. So I did not buy it. But that jeweler said my ring had more gold in it than the chain.
        I have been in autonomic functioning for more than 24 hours and cannot come down. Darn fm.

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  10. I don’t deliberately save stuff, and to the best of my knowledge, don’t have any letters, chocolate sprinkles or other artifacts that might fuel speculation about my extinct love life.

    Husband and I are both in the process of divesting ourselves of much old stuff that has been gathering dust for way too long. Nothing like the rather sudden death of our neighbor – a week ago today – to remind us that if we don’t do it ourselves, someone else will have to.

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  11. Husband has stories about his past loves, stories our children found fascinating. “Tell us about the girlfriend who you hitchhiked around Lake Superior with. Was she the one who kicked you out of her apartment and wouldn’t give you your shoes”? (No, that was a different one).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think times have changed. My parents never wanted to discuss previous relationships with my sister and me, even though my father had been married twice before he married my mother.

      Happy birthday, Renee!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. If we are talking about merely fueling speculation, there is a drawing of me when I was about 19 or 20 that I have framed. There was no romance with the artist, I’m afraid, but if I were to feign a coy reluctance to discuss it, perhaps rumors might start to swirl.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. the best artifacts I have from my [at relationships with neanderthals are my two kids from the first marriage.
    daughter was saying the other day she was listening to her mom telling stories about some of the trips or things we did. and her o asked does your dad remember and talk about the time we ere together and relate those stories? my daughter said no he doesn’t. oh I suppose that would make his current wife uncomfortable. my daughter rolled her eyes and said I didn’t tell her that its any time her name comes up I feel like changing the subject

    I couldn’t help remembering the days of party drugs and free love back in the day when the question of whether the humans and the neanderthals had sex would have been the morning after discussion over the bong. we had plenty of unibrows both male and female rolling in and out of the different hippy houses I lived in for a fistful of years. if you could remember the 60’s you weren’t there is the experience I went through the late 60’s early 70’s with. I still have the brass bed that lay lady lay got got the evening started with, the vw van and bongs are gone but photographs still pop up form time to time ( I just had someone call last week laughing about my picture in the yearbook) I was a conservative guy when it came to relationships back in the day. there were only chunks of time when I wasn’t in a relationship and I behaved when in a relationship but just the times themselves made the memories between stints take on a legendary status. the stuff I saw when I wasn’t available made me fearless when I was. moderation in all things. particularly moderation. words to live by

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    1. My daughter just described the weather (we were supposed to go over today) out on the prairie as “gross.” I told her that this is not 1965.

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  14. There is that portrait of me drawn by Barry Watson who went on to become the director of the National Gallery of Kingston, Jamaica.. No romance involved although there could have been. One of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and a true gentleman.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I do, BiR. The interesting thing is that after he had drawn it, he signed it “Barry.” He knew already then that he would be famous one day, and didn’t want me to sell it to make money.

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    1. Steve, I’ve always treasured it, not because I perceived it to have any monetary value, but because of the fond remembrances I had of Barry. He was the first black man I’d had ever met and interacted with. We met at a small outdoor cafe, and just hit it off. We shared a few meals and made some excursions to the art museum in Basel together, and there he shared his insights into some of the masterpieces there.

      I recall that at the end of our first meeting, he asked me if I would like to see some of his paintings. I said yes, but fearful of going to his hotel room with him, I suggested that we meet some other time so he could show me. He said fine, how about tomorrow?

      The following afternoon, I met him on one of the bridges crossing the Rhine near where I worked. He gave me a big hug and said: “You really thought you were clever yesterday, didn’t you? You were afraid that to see my paintings you’d have to go back to my hotel room with me. Well, I was the clever one. I had the slides of my paintings in my pocket all along, and I could have shown them to you then, but I wanted to see you again.”

      He was in Basel only a week, and we didn’t stay in contact after he left.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. What a nice memory. And how lucky for you to tour a museum with an artist, someone who could see the paintings with an artistic eye. The portrait he did of you probably does have financial value now, yet I would guess you will not sell it.

        Liked by 3 people

  15. All of these stories have served to remind me that I come from families with no pasts.

    I found out briefly from a great aunt how my parents met a minute or so before I was supposed to tell the story at their 25th wedding anniversary. Naturally, my dad had to correct/expand the story for the audience, so that is how I know anything at all. No idea about previous girlfriends/boyfriends for either of them.

    I do remember my cousin and I found some interesting stuff written in some of my mother’s college yearbooks on summer. Years later I went snooping again found nothing, but no evidence of cut pages-was I crazy????

    I looked again years after that, and it looks like the glue holding those pages together is starting to dry out…….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Somehow, I never considered the possibility that my parents may have had other relationships prior to marrying. I know for certain that my mother had at least two other relationships while married to my dad, although I’m reasonably sure they left no paper trail. Whatever flings my dad may have had were probably one night stands in foreign sea ports. For all I know I may have half siblings in different parts of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of my habitual ways of seeing things is my habit of seeing other people’s lives as if they were actors in a novel. Even seemingly ordinary people can have dramatic life stories about loss and gain, love and tragedy. When I was doing the dating that followed my divorce I got to know two women well. Both of them had life stories that were fascinating and moving. And both of them had children who were oblivious to those stories. One of the women was intensely private, and I doubt her children will ever know what her life was like. The other might have shared her story, but her two boys were too self-absorbed to even wonder what their mother had gone through.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I listened to all my parents stories. From my father they were few. I listened to the stories of the old man up the road, Charlie, and two old men at whose farms my father and I often worked. My children and grandchildren have no interest in my life or Sandy’s which is fine. But why the generational change? I suppose TV and such.
          (Still wired, screaming been-wired-too-long headache.

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        2. hang in there
          i love telling my children soories and have a captive audience. i get em when they are in the car with me or sometime when we are talking about something and off i gotelling sotries about my memories of growing up in bloomington and the childhood experiences of the day, the rock bands the drugs the way sex palyed out in the 60s and 70s and how im glad its turned into a more thoughtful process these days for the youngens. the magic of not knowing how odd it was to be off traveling at age 16 and taking my 14 yer old brother with me. my experiecnes with my dad and the relatives and the hunting expeditons i used to love before i turned veggie. those norht dakota sloughs are incredible. i get distracted and go on and on and try to ask my kids what we were talking about before i head off into la lal land with my memories. they seldome remember but seem to have been ok with my rants. rants are some of my best things.

          Liked by 2 people

  16. Slightly OT, But today is the day-a good Imbolc (also Brigid’s Day ) to Crow Girl and any other pagan’s. (Bet you knew this, Renee-hope your biryhday is grand).

    Just read one of the activities for the day is spring cleaning. This explains a lot at my house.

    And suddenly the delinquents have a full supply of sparkle balls again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, we are feasting. I shall light some candles tonight to celebrate the end of winter.I will have to use a lot of imagination, though, as it is really cold and we had 4 inches of snow yesterday.

      Liked by 1 person

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