This is where the August 22, 2019 Carrot Ranch prompt led me. I can’t remember if I published the first segment at the virtual campfire or if I just shared it around the real fire. I wrote it in July after Charli Mills and I were shown a simple stone marker beyond the bounds of a cemetery, a marginalized remembrance of a baby whose name and brief history are unknown. I incorporated my impressions and speculations into my serial flashes on Hope and her family then and have now added another flash in response to this prompt.
Go to Carrot Ranch to leave your 99 words (no more, no less) about “old world charm. It can be nostalgic or irreverent. You can invent an ‘old world’, return to migrant roots or recall ancient times. Go where the prompt leads you!”
Hope felt pride and belonging here, enjoyed seeing her last name on the neatly arranged stones, many flagged, indicating service as far back as the Revolution.
Hope’s mom stood at the edge of the woods, still and silent. Hope went down the slope and joined her.
Her eyes glistened. She placed one of her earrings on the tiny stone before walking with Hope toward the road.
“Who was she?”
“I don’t know Hope. Just a gypsy baby, abandoned they say, over a hundred years ago.”
Winding back through the family plots, Hope’s pride clouded over with questions.
“A gypsy baby? I didn’t know we had gypsies in Vermont. I thought gypsies were from long ago and far away, like Italy, or Romania, somewhere like that. Why is there a gypsy baby in our cemetery?”
Her mom stopped and turned, silently stared back down the slope at the isolated marker. Her long black hair veiled her face.
“Yes, Hope, ‘gypsy’ does sound Old World; European; maybe sounds more charming than other words they might have used for impoverished dark skinned people wandering homeless in their own homelands.” She sniffed. “Christianity’s an Old World idea too.”