Where did you come from?

By Roy Roberts
Trivia Too
Where did you come from? ---I was born in 1922. My Mother didn’t hesitate at all to answer my question, “Where did you get me?” I asked.  “I got you from the gypsies,” she nonchalantly answered as she went on with her work.
When I was a child, adults were very careful about what they discussed in front of their children. Today it is much different.

Back in the 1920s there would often be small Gypsy caravans go through Beardstown, and not being allowed to stop in town, they would pull up for the night on the Boulevard Road, just about 70 yards from our house at the end of Washington Street. That was in the country as there were no homes from Washington Street until the Hess Dairy about a mile out of town. Their stop at that point was because they would come to the house with buckets to get water for their horses and for their cooking.
They would have three or four covered wagons, pulled by teams of horses, and always had one or two more horses tied to the back of their wagons.
They were horse traders and they are probably one reason why the Arenzville Anti Horse Thief Association was organized. When members would hear that there were Gypsies in the area, they would warn their neighbors to watch their horses they owned and to be careful in any trading they might do. This was only about 20 years before the first automobile came into Beardstown, so in the 1980s and 1990s there were more gypsies that would pass through the county.
Back to WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? There was a lady by the name of White who told about when she was a girl, also born in the 1920s. She wrote that when anyone in the family was going to have a baby her Mother or Grandmother would never speak of it around her. However she was always asking questions about everything. She said,” I was bound to ask sooner or later, “Mother, where did I come from? How did you and Daddy find me?”
Her Mother quickly replied that the doctor brought all the babies.  But when I wanted to know where the doctor got them, amazingly enough, he would just fish them out of the river as the babies floated by. In my mind I just visualized our old doctor hanging over the bridge with a net on the end of a long pole, scooping up babies as they came down the river. When I asked if he could choose a boy or girl, I was told that once the baby was in the net, the doctor had to keep it, no matter what it was.
It was later, and I was still thinking about it when we took a trolley across the city bridge, but I never saw a single baby floating by.
By this time Mother had exhausted the stories about the river babies. She finally told me where they really came from----the stork brought them.
I learned that the stork deposited babies in baskets and left them on the roof. Since I wanted a baby brother or sister, I decided that this was something I could check out.
Our back porch had a flat roof that was accessible from a window in our attic. One day I dragged Mother’s clothes basket up the attic stairs, opened the window and pushed the basket out onto the roof.  Mother heard the commotion and came running to see what I was doing. I told her that the basket was for the baby the stork would be delivering.
Once again she carefully explained the problem.  Babies are not delivered unless they are ordered. Obviously Mother never got around to ordering one, because I was an only child. Mother never did get around to telling me the truth.  I finally learned it from some of my enlightened friends----but not until many years later.
Parents today don’t resort to such elaborate tales to keep their children sheltered from the facts of life. Anyway, Where did you come from?