The times between the
days of the Born Freaks, as both my parents were, and the
made freaks, were a LOT of years. Times and people change,
and so does the world around us.
In the times around
the 40's & 60's, and even before that, The generation
are now, the ages in the 20's, 30's, back then, didn't have
many TV's and the technology, of computers and the vast
wasteland of files, that can be searched at the touch of a
finger. No wonder you wouldn't be interested in seeing a
person, who has overcome great odds, to carve a nitch in
history, by hard work and saving.
My parents built an
empire, by being human oddities, and every sideshow they
owned had a tattooed person, a dwarf doing the tattooing, a
pincushion, a geek. There was also, a ladder of importance
in the sideshows of the time, The top rung being held by the
"freaks", or human oddities, as my parents were also the
show owners. To my Mother, she felt she was just a person,
and many of the working acts were the freaks,
The ones who occupied
the next rung of the ladder, down, were the Sword
Swallowers, fire eaters, and other working acts. The geek,
when they had one, was the most disgusting creature there.
But look at TV today with it's every week a new freak show,
it would be a cold day in hell, when even the geeks, would
eat some of the things that they do now a days on the tube.
So to not pay to see a human oddity, where would you find
one if you wanted to.
On TV, either being
killed, to be separate of each other, or if they lived, they
would still be different. We try so hard to emulate the
freaks, when we really don't have enough understanding, of
just what they have lived through all their lives, with the
adversity, and outspoken tongues, of the younger
This didn't happen
back then. The "freaks" were respected for the hard times
they had, and the wisdom they gained by just waking up in
the morning, and having to get out of the bed. Try it some
time. Sit on the floor, beside a bed, cross your legs
in front of you, and get your self into bed, only using your
arms. Or better yet. sleep on your side in a little baby
crib, where you couldn't stretch out, your knees on your
stomach, since there wasn't enough room, to put 8 and a half
feet, into a 6 foot bed. Then be rested enough the next day,
to put in 16 hours of labor, keeping everything running
smooth, and ditto again the next night.
Of course you didn't
hop a plane, but you had to drive and a car, that was so
small, your knees push on the dashboard. And even a slight
fender bender, would break one or both of them. I know about
that, as it happened to my Dad. Or to be in the same car,
and sitting there with no legs for support, and being thrown
into the dash, if an accident occurred. Or if the driver
even hit the brakes, for some other reason, and because you
didn't have an elbow on that arm, an automatic reflex to
keep from going through the windshield, and since it was
stiff, your broke the bones in your hand, which was also
being used as a foot, for you to get around on.
I think the days of
the freaks you mention, happened around Woodstock, in the
60's, not on the sideshows, as they were the Real People.
Try walking up and down a ladder on your hands, or swinging
on a swing and landing on your butt, as Mother did. Or even
driving your own car, after never driving till you were 46,
and your husband/wife died and leaves you with two children
to raise on your own.
I must say, we were
better people for the hardships we had. But, please, don't
label people you know nothing about, till you have walked a
mile in their shoes, or through the northern snow, with
mittens on your hands, 3 miles to get to school, just to
have an education.
Photographs, Courtesy of
Judy Tomaini Rock, © 2006 All Rights
Banner on one of Al and Jeanie Tomaini's Sideshows