|Stereotypical Image of a Gypsy Fortuneteller|
Those of you who have read my biography know that my parents divorced when I was an infant and I was subsequently raised by my maternal grandparents. I was a shy child with very few friends who mostly kept to himself. Every year, when Summer rolled around my grandmother's sister, Ernestine, would come up to visit us from Myrtle Beach. She would stay for a few days and then take me back to home with her for the Summer.
Y'all probably heard of my Aunt Ernestine before, you might recall that in the early 70's she appeared on Queen for a Day back when she lived in California and won a year's supply of turtle wax. Others may recall, as I've mentioned before, that Ernestine was the person who bought me my very first deck of tarot cards (the Rider-Waite) from a Waldenbooks in the mall around 1991. However, the story I want to share with you today occurred several years prior.
As I remember it, Ernestine and one of her brothers ( I can't remember if it was Simon or Sam) had a falling out over an inheritance which resulted in one of the brothers making false accusation against her and suing her. Earlier that day, she had been reading the local paper and had seen an ad that the gypsies had placed for one free question by phone. Ernestine had known about my interest in such things and had even dared me to call the number for a reading, but I was too chicken. So, I dared her to call the number and ask about the lawsuit.
Not being no chicken, Ernestine called the number and spoke with someone about the situation. The person on the other end explained that the family had been placed under a curse and that Ernestine should make an appointment to come in as soon as possible so that they can discover who threw the curse and how to take it off. Before she hung up, the gypsy said that Ernestine shouldn't loan anything to anyone nor borrow anything from anyone until she came to see the gypsy. I was surprised when she actually made a follow-up appointment to see the gypsies in person in a few days, but then after hanging up the phone Ernestine made a comment to the effect of "I ain't giving you no money to buy groceries." So, we weren't going to go see the gypsies after all.
A few days later we were in town running errands and Ernestine noticed that we were near the gypsies house. I begged her to at least drive by there so I can get a look at them (remember I was a little boy). So we drove by the house of the gypsies and I was surprised that, unlike the stereotypical gypsy above, they actually looked like ordinary women in ordinary clothes. Sure enough, however, they were outside hauling groceries from their car into their house! Who knew Aunt Ernestine had the gift herself? Maybe that's where I get it too?
As a side note, it wasn't until years later that I began a serious study of magic and learned more about the gypsies strange advice about borrowing and lending. Supposedly, if Ernestine had borrowed anything from or lent anything to anyone before her appointment with the Gypsies, then that person would have been the individual who threw the curse.