By Rebekah Martin
Rosa Lee Stewart, Rozella Clinkscales and Patsy Sue Allen are just a few of the aliases Rose Cherami was known by. Born Melba Christine Youngblood, Cherami lived a life shrouded in mystery, keeping secrets from those who loved her the most. Her life, death and everything in between is the subject of a soon-to-be-released biography by Dr. Michael Marcades, Cherami’s only son.
The book is co-authored by Opelika native and Observer guest columnist Norma Kirkpatrick, and is slated release later this month. The book, a first for Marcades, is the product of more than 25 years of painstaking research. Kirkpatrick said she met Marcades at First United Methodist Church in Opelika in 2011, where he was the minister of music and a faculty member at Southern Union State Community College. The two formed a friendship over their mutual love of music and, when Kirkpatrick learned Marcades was writing a book, she volunteered her help and experience.
“We start with her life and end with her death. We go all the way through, and write about how Michael’s life is interwoven,” Kirkpatrick said. “She was very restless – six months was about as long as she would take a persona and enjoy that life, and then she would get restless and reinvent herself.”
Cherami frequently moved, many times across state lines, taking on a new alias each time. She made her living as an exotic dancer, once working for the infamous Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Kirkpatrick said Cherami’s connection to Ruby and his involvement in John F. Kennedy’s assassination is still unknown. Cherami was also convicted of grand larceny, and was imprisoned in Louisiana’s Angola Prison. Upon her release, she was briefly committed to a state mental hospital. During her time there, Cherami reportedly gave advanced notice of the impending assasination of the Kennedy assasination.
Kirkpatrick said the fact that Marcades turned out to be an accomplished individual, in spite of his childhood and relation to Cherami, is a beautiful take-away from the book.
Kirkpatrick has written for the Observer since 2013, as well as collaborated as a ghost writer and written teaching materials. With the professional slogan, “Let me say it for you,” Kirkpatrick said she believes the right word at the right time is the key to reaching into the heart and mind of the reader.
Rose Cherami: Gathering Fallen Petals will be published by JFK Lancer Publications in Dallas, Texas and will be available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com