My  Gypsy Experiences

by Charles Keeler


In the spring after the stock shows there’s a time you need to book a few spots before the Battle of Flowers in San Antonio.  I used to go to Louisiana and play a few celebrations.  We got to meet a family of Gypsies,  who had a grab joint (hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks).  They were the "Georges"  the only clan that I knew personally that worked food joints.  They were very nice people more open to the carnies then most Gypsies.

They had a 12 year old girl that worked the stand most of the time and we got to know her pretty well,  always friendly and courteous.  She had long pitch black hair that hung down to her waist.

After the spring we left the show and went back to our regular route. That winter when the gypsy men went off to work some men attacked the women at their trailer and chained them up waiting for the men to come home with the money.  Mary (the young girls name) watched as they killed her grandmother with an axe.  When we saw them in the spring Mary’s long black hair had turned completely white. It was a terrible experience for her, especially as her grandmother was special to her.

I never heard anything but rumors that they caught the people that did this terrible thing to her grandmother.  I heard it was carnies and then I heard it wasn't carnies.  Maybe some one knows. I heard they were caught and tried. I certainly hope so.  Another time we were up North and we had some Gypsies on the show.   I'm not sure but I believe it was a small town in Illinois.  I believe they were the Eli Clan. Most of the Gypsies that worked the games were more friendly to us.  The ones that just had the Mitt Camps (palm reading etc.) were basically hard to reach as they were traditionally separated from us foreigners.  I got to know most of them and became friends with them.

One of the older gentleman passed away and they had him taken to a funeral home.  Now Gypsy tradition does not allow the remains to be left unattended till its interred.  The funeral home did not want to let the Gypsies stay in the funeral home overnight.  They had to go find a judge and get a court order to allow them to have the wake.  Finally, all the arrangements were made.  I took over a quart of Canadian Club, paid my respects to the family and to the deceased then I left.


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