The Children of the Forgotten Fathers

by Ken Mundis

 

The first time I signed on with a show I was 18.  That night we were pulling out of town headed to the York County Fair in PA.   I went home to talk to my mom and aunt.  My cousin also wanted to join the fair.  He was going to work as a ride jock.  I wanted to work the sideshow as a hand.  I remember my mom and aunt giving us both a two-hour speech about carnies and the dangers of being on the road.  They packed up about 100lbs of canned goods and a can opener (Gotta Love Moms).

After the first spot my cousin had it and went back home.  I was on the road for the adventure and continued on by myself.  I believe I got lucky or the Lord was looking out for me because I ended up with the best people you would ever want to be on the road to adventure with!!  From the first day on the show, as a "First of Mayer", the new laborer, I was treated as if I was like one of their family, except for the Fat Man.  I’m not sure he trusted anyone. 

I was told to sleep in the front of the sword swallower’s pick up truck, but it was too cold that night so the Monkey Girl and Mike J. (I found out months later that wasn’t his real name) had moved and shifted some of their things around to make room so I could stay in the small Ryder truck apt.   They made me a bed in the cage of the eight-foot python named Goliath. The cage had a heat lamp that kept the snake warm.  It kept me nice and warm also.  They also made room for all my stuff.
 
The Ryder truck also served as the prop storage for the baby show.  The baby show wasn’t going to be displayed at the York Fair.  That was the spot I signed on for.
 
But when we arrived at the next spot, which was Bloomsburg, PA, I was looking at all of them and thinking wow.  Little did I know what was in store for me.  We set the tent up and it took us two days.  The tent was an old time circus tent.  It was big, heavy and long.  When we started flashing the displays, I was told by the canvas boss man “hey kid go fill up the tanks in the blow off.”  Now I never heard of a blow off and had no idea what he was talking about. He explained what it was and that it was an extra added attraction that we saved for the end of the show to make extra money.  So I did as I was told and filled up all the tanks.
 
The next thing I knew he was coming in with the two headed babies, a frog girl, a legless baby and he put all of them into the tanks.  Then we set up some weird lights and a small PA system. 

“The Children of the Forgotten Fathers” was ready. 
 
When the show opened I was told I was going to play the part of the "Good Doctor Strange."  I was in heaven.  This is the best job ever.  Well that’s what I thought until my first show! 
 
I can remember it like it was yesterday!
 
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN… What we have here behind the stage is an extra added attraction. An attraction so strange, that we keep it in its own tent.  What we have is “THE CHILDREN OF THE FORGOTTEN FATHERS.”  This attraction is not for everyone. If you scare easily or if you are faint of heart please exit the tent now.  For the rest of you, see how cruel Mother Nature can be.  Folks it’s only 50 cents to see what’s behind the curtain.  The 50 cents you spend here you will never remember, what you see you will never forget!  That’s right folks, 50 cents pays the way if you’re in line, you’re in time.  Then in a loud shrill voice the tattoo lady would shout,  “Let’s go, if you’re going”.  Then they would say, “Are you ready doctor?”  I’d say yes or nod my head and in they would go.  Then I would wait a moment and say “Ladies and Gentleman, The Children of the Forgotten Fathers.”  I would pull open the curtain and start a tape about drugs and the unborn fetus.
 
Some people would go white as a sheet while others would give me dirty looks. Sometimes they would even use some choice words.  I remember that some of the people would get red in their face and get real angry and threaten to beat me up.  They would get too close to the tanks and could see the wires that held the rubber babies together.  Being Doctor Strange wasn’t what I thought it would be! 

 

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