Only once can I recall a Gypsy caravan passing through Sawyerville, Alabama. Best guess, I was 6 or 7. I’d heard tales of Gypsies, and I had been indoctrinated with the fact that they were congenital thieves and if they came in your store you had to watch every move they made or they’d steal you blind. (That last phrase seemed part of the myth. And yes, we were taught that they would steal unattended children.) I remember my father telling me, “Run get Mama and you and she come back and keep close watch. Tell her to lock the house!”
already noted). They didn’t stay long, an hour or so at the most, and then the (to me at the time) large caravan of cars, trucks, and trailers in various states of decline but all still running, moved on toward the east and Greensboro.
I believe that it was after this excitement that my parents told me of another band of Gypsies that had passed through during the Great Depression. It was during a bitterly cold winter, and they set up camp for several days in a field that I believe was the property to the west of my father’s store. I seem to recall that illness was involved in their reason for stopping for so long. In memory’s eye the wagons were pulled by horses and mules, but that may be my own romantic (good word here) notion. My parents took pity on them and to some degree befriended them (this was probably daring at the time).
I wonder whatever happened to her. I wonder what it would have been like to have an older sister who had been born a Gypsy. In any case, it is one of my favorite tales about my parents.