lived in. The Communist government did not approve of the gypsies'
and they were attempting to ground them by making it difficult to travel to
other locations without permits, as well as creating a police surveillance
monitored all dwellings. In this case a whole gypsy tribe was assigned an
address with a number of very small connected railroad-style apartments. These
to the ones that me and my parents lived in and I was told that the whole area
between (and including) the park and the farmers market, used to belong to some
rich boier(landowner) and that the railroad-style low buildings where originally used
as stables and servant dwellings.
The gypsies used to ply all kinds of itinerant trades like knife-sharpening, pot
re-covering, rag-trading, busking and fortune-telling.
One fortune-teller used
pass through our little alley once a week or so and try to hustle a couple of
lei (Romanian currency.) She used to dress in colorful layers and hide her hair
kerchief in the manner of older gypsy women, but I think she was only somewhere
on the down slope of twenty. She looked quite beautiful but had disconcerting
due to the fact that two of her teeth were covered in some kind of silvery
metal. She called herself Madam Zorica and she was pretty good at her trade. One
she told my mom that she was going to go on a long trip over the sea, which for many reasons, seemed like science-fiction
at the time but turned out to be quite true. I also heard that she used to ask
married women to put a bit of salt on her cards before she read them - one time
she asked this younger girl to sprikle the salt at which the girl protested that
she was a virgin and didn't have to do it - Madam Zorica said, that's OK just do
it anyway if you'd like a true reading - at which the girl blushed and ran away.
On my way back from school, I used to pass right in
front of the gypsy place and I noticed that some of my school mates used to walk
into the yard once in a while so one day my curiosity compelled me to walk in as
well. The first thing I saw a bit to the left of the entrance, was a tent and
the door-flap lifted at once revealing Madam Zorica - it was as if