When the journey in our family gypsy wagon came to an end, we settled down in a little shack on the Klamath River in Northern California in a place called Croy Gulch. The gulch was hot and dry and suffering from several years of drought. Rattle snakes ruled the land, poison oak thrived, and we and our bare feet weren't the least bit intimidated. We were strong and independent kids.
Shortly after we arrived, I decided to take ownership of the Gypsy Wagon and make it my own "room". And each night, after dinner, I loved leaving our family's little shack with my life-sized homemade doll, Mr. Howdy Doody in tow, and making my way to my gypsy wagon where I'd settle into my cozy calico bed and read by kerosene lantern, all about Laura Ingalls and her little house on the prairie. Life was good.
Good until the middle of my second grade year, when an executive at Magic Mountain theme park (now known as Six Flags) noticed my gypsy wagon in the pages of the book, Shelter, where it had been featured, along with a story about our family. He imagined it'd make a great feature in the park, in an artsy area called Spillikin Corners. Somehow, he tracked us down and made an offer to buy it. No way!, I thought. Was he crazy?! But just like that, my gypsy wagon was gone and I was left with a broken heart.
I'll never forget the day the picture was taken with my family around the wagon and me in the cab and how I was feeling at the time. It was the last time I ever sat in my gypsy wagon.
Eventually my dad built another wagon and we moved away from Croy Gulch. And my sadness slowly wore away as I discovered home really was anywhere my heart was and really, what I made of my life, not where I made my bed.
* * * *
* * * *