Please celebrate Becky's birthday as we all share our wonders. I was inspired to share something with you after attending a big arts & crafts show this weekend. It just so happened that at this fair there was a collection of old buggies and wagons and one in particular caught my eye. It inspired me to share my fascination with you.
I have always been fascinated with gypsies. Back during my piano lesson days I know there was a gypsy tune that I loved (and could play) in one of those John W. Schaum piano books. That song and the illustration is surely responsible for my strange fascination with gypsies. My first encounter with a real gypsy was a few years later. When I was in high school I worked at a department store in our hometown mall (a very small mall but a big deal in a small town). Anyway, we had gypsies who lived somewhere in the vicinity so the store manager would tell us when they came in the store (we were supposed to keep our eyes out for shoplifting). He said you will know they are here when the Cadillac pulls up. I remember the day a yellow Cadillac pulled up to the back door of the mall and a clan of five women, all dark haired with olive complexions, piled out of the care and entered the store. To me it was exotic and exciting to observe. I later learned that they were Roma gypsies.
Many years later as I was planning my first trip to Paris when someone warned me to "beware the gypsies." Of course I am thinking to myself, gypsies? Sure enough, within the first 12 hours in Paris, we encountered a gypsy mother with a baby and a toddler begging. We saw gypsies in the train stations, gypsies outside the churches and gypsies on the Champs Elysees.
In the early 90's I saw a movie about the Tinkers and discovered the Irish gypsies. Even though the name is different, they are still gypsies.
Photo of a Tinker wagon
Then in 1997 the most amazing thing appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution obituaries. The headline read, "U.S. Gypsies Come to Say Goodbye to Their Chief Justice." It was so unbelievable that a very important gypsy leader had been living right here in the Atlanta area. To this day I remember reading about the white horses and carriage that would carry the gypsy dignitary to his final resting place.
Since that amazing discovery NBC has run a special on the Murphy Village community just north of Augusta. After watching the program I was even more intrigued and fascinated with gypsies, their society and culture. I am just curious if others have had encounters with the gypsy communities.