Home » Its the Gypsy in Me - The Autobiography of Konrad Bercovici by Konrad Bercovici
Its the Gypsy in Me - The Autobiography of Konrad Bercovici Konrad Bercovici

Its the Gypsy in Me - The Autobiography of Konrad Bercovici

Konrad Bercovici

Published March 1st 2007
ISBN : 9781406721379
Paperback
348 pages
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 About the Book 

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KONRAD BERCOVICI ITS THE GYPSY IN ME ew York 1941 PRENTICE-HALL, INC. Copyright, 1941, by KONRAD BERCOVICI All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by mimeo graph or any other means, withoutMoreTHE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KONRAD BERCOVICI ITS THE GYPSY IN ME ew York 1941 PRENTICE-HALL, INC. Copyright, 1941, by KONRAD BERCOVICI All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by mimeo graph or any other means, without permission in writing from the author. First Printing November 1941 PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO NAOMI AND OUR CHILDREN ITS THE GYPSY IN ME I MY EARLIEST childhood memory is of a winter after noon when a caravan of Gypsies crossed the frozen Danube River in front of the home of my parents. In the howling snowstorm the long file of covered sleds inched slowly forward over the ice. Gypsies in long sheepskin coats and tall, black fur caps marched ahead of each sled, probing the ice with long, iron-tipped sticks. The little brown horses snorted and neighed while their breath froze in the air. When the first sled pulled up on the shore, the Gypsy jumped into the drivers seat, let out a loud yell, and gave the horses their heads. One after another the covered sleds pulled up and ranged themselves in the form of a square. When the last one had crossed, the Gypsy men unrolled a huge tarpaulin canvas, with which they roofed the square. While some of the women were clearing the ground underneath, others were building fires under huge copper kettles set on three-legged iron stools. What impressed me strongly was the order and the efficiency with which the work was done. There were a hundred pairs of hands in that caravan, and each pair knew exactly what to do without interfering with anothers work. When all was done, my father took them a demijohn of brandy and poured some of it into each cupped hand until he had emptied the large bottle of thelast drop. That same evening all the Gypsies men, women, and chil drentrooped into our enormous kitchen, which was warmed 1 2 ITS THE GYPSY IN ME by two red brick ovens, and sat down to the yearly dinner father offered to the first tribe that crossed the frozen river. The first words I learned to read were Rinaldo Rinaldini, the tide of a novel mother was reading. Mother was always reading the latest sensational novel and loved to read aloud even when no one was listening. She would reread passages a dozen times if she hadnt hit upon the right intonation the first or the eleventh time. The rest of the family, willy nilly, learned by heart the novels mother was reading by hearing her recite them. I had learned to read these words all by myself and didnt tell anyone until I had learned the other letters of the alphabet and was able to agglutinate them into words. Then one night as my older brothers and my parents each sat down with a book about the table, I, too, nonchalantly took a book from the shelf along the wall and sat down to read under the same kerosene lamp with the rest of the family, Observing out of the corner of my eye that they were smiling at my conceit, I didnt protest, but began to read aloud, The great Rinaldo rode his white horse that night He had sworn to avenge himself, and the hour had come. Whom do you think you are deceiving father asked, taking the book away from me. I am deceiving nobody, I said quietly. I can read as well as anyone in this house. Who taught you to read I taught myself. He has heard mother read the chapter aloud and has memorized it, my older brother said. Without another word I took his book, a geography, from him and read aloud from it. Youhavent read me aloud your book, have you I asked with all the irony of mv four vears. mishmcr ITS THE GYPSY IN ME 3 Then they all began to laugh and to Hss me. Father promised me a watch mother, a new pair of woolen gloves one of my older brothers gave me his own penknife and the oldest one, six years my senior, gave me a small silver piece after I had read a whole page from his book...