Queen of the Gypsies


I picked up my parents from the airport yesterday; they had been gone about a week for my mother’s eye surgery in Boston. When I rolled up in their Rav 4 station wagon, our modern version of a Romani gypsy caravan I looked at the sidewalk where an extended family of body bags were lined up next to my parents. I sighed, their bag porter had already high tailed it with his tip. We heaved the body bags into the car one by one, and they just about fit. We shut the doors and thanked god for the minor miracle of fitting everything in, which includes my mother and her many accoutrements.  Mom doesn’t travel lightly, neither do I. When we rented an apartment in Montana on a family holiday it looked like my mother had moved in, she brought three pairs of cowboy boots, several stand up mirrors, a jewelry box etc etc. She had to travel back east by land or she would have racked up a world record in excess baggage. For this trip though she was travelling light by her standards, they only came back with a bag for every day of the week they were away, I am surprised the suitcases weren’t labeled: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday like the kids underwear.  My mom was probably out shopping as soon as they wheeled her out of the hospital door, eye patch and all. Shopping is easier when you can’t read the price tags! Derelict GiGi is trying to get into Ripley’s Believe it or not for the most surgeries in one lifetime, in reality she has had more surgeries than Michael Jackson but no where near as much properfol instead she has a Lindo’s green eco bag stuffed full of East End prescribed happy pills.

I have to admit I am exactly the same as my mother, just with a far smaller budget. And when she unzipped one of the body bags out came a box of almond meal, a huge gallon bag of coconut flour, and custom baby probiotics all ordered by me to their Boston apartment and dutifully transported back to Bermuda by the Queen of the Gypsies, my mother. I am grateful; I am her daughter in training. Just looking in my purse I can find twenty ball point pens, gaffer tape, three notebooks, files, a few novels, two cameras, and floss and a few plugs… you know just in case.

My mother’s lecturing me about not ordering so much stuff to the Boston apartment is steeped in irony. My mother might not order things off of amazon, but she buys enough from Lord and Taylor and Talbots to surpass all of my internet shopping exploits. My father might be the all time worst for online shopping sprees; he is always ordering strange antiques and on occasion making me smuggle in an iron dagger from 1500 B.C. in my luggage. When we got pulled by TSA, try to explain that one..”Yes that iron dagger tangled in my thong underwear is my Dad’s antique letter opener.” Hmmmm. I started wondering if travelling around with lots of stuff was genetic.

My parents have even started bringing in tons of specialty foods in their suitcase, which is reminiscent of my mother’s parents who every Christmas would arrive with several suitcases each, and if you sat next to one on the ride home from the airport chances are you would get freezer burn. When we arrived at the house, they would be opened and enormous steaks as big as my arm would be heaved from the suitcase into the deep freeze, along with sausages, orange rolls, and frozen pounds of cookies of several varieties. I’d wonder where their clothes were as that’s the area they would economize on space, and would have about three interchangeable pieces for as many weeks.


My mother was becoming more and more like her mother, as I became more and more like my mother.  That said perhaps on some occasions she was far more like her father. Many early morning service callers have mistaken those gruff adenoidal cadences for the man of the house.

“Hello The Spurling Residence.”

“Hello Sir, it’s Bermuda Telephone Company calling.”

“This is not Sir, its Mrs. Spurling!”

“Mr. Spurling if you pass me to the lady of the house I can make an appointment.”

“This is the lady of the house.”

“Mister Spurling I must have caught you on a bad day it sounds like you have a very heavy cold. ”

My mother replies in her best Queen’s English, “It’s Mrs. Jane Spurling speaking at this very moment.”

“I am so sorry Mrs. Spurling it must be a bad line.”


Before doing all this genealogical research I didn’t realize there was such thing as a “Youngblood voice.” It’s deep, gravelly and with a smooth timbre much like my mother’s Aunt Bernice in this video. I wonder if people thought Bernice was a man when she answered the phone. There are some genetic consistencies that just can’t be denied, including my mother’s most definite gypsy like tendencies!

Over to Aunt Bernice:

Like Aunt Bernice, and my mother both my sister and I also register on the lower scale. I’ll never forget one of the most mortifying moments in primary school music class when the music teacher classified us by vocal register. Most of the girls were soprano or mezzo soprano, a few boys were too, then most of the boys were in the middle as tenors, and I am sure you have guessed by now, there was one Barritone Alto, me. I was the smallest girl in the class with the deepest voice. It must have been then I wished to become a boy, little did I know I would only have to wait a few decades to be mistaken for one!

There are many things that are genetic: looks, personality, voice, and well: hair.

When I saw this video below, my first thought was, this is exactly what I would look like if I had a mullet. Scary thought. Mullets I think might be genetic too.  Eva was born with one, and she still has it, see picture below. I tell people it is her genetic adaptation to childhood, which saves mommy from having to cut it or tie it back, but now I am thinking after seeing the video below that it might be a rogue Youngblood gene.  I do hope that Eva has better grammar than our dear relative “which is” Cousin Brenda with the crazy hair. I also still wondering how you can collect careers like cousin Brenda “which is” a nurse, electrologist, interior decorator and chiropractic assistant and still have time to sew, swim and play tennis. You know us Youngbloods, we are prone to exaggeration…and collecting careers, like the gypsies.

Does anyone know what an “electrologist” is? I am guessing it has something to do with sticking a fork into an electrical socket… something this derelict mom must admit my Eva has done under my watch. That’s what happened to the Youngblood hair!

Over to Cousin Brenda:

And here is a picture of Eva “which is” two and has a mullet au natural. Eva who with her Diva nature, and her rogue Youngblood gene is surely destined to take over as Queen of the Gypsies one day from GiGi. She is practicing already, today she went to daycare with two bunnies a Mickey and a Mini Mouse, and she came back with all of those plus one blue dolphin.

Eva to NH


Eva and Sadie 2014 072

I remember my grandmother on my mother’s side of course whispering in my ear once at an amusement park when I was about eight, “You see those people over there, they are GYPSIES.” Well Grandma Youngblood, who we called Gawgie, I think we are too! When Eva grows up to tell fortunes, as well as swim, sew, play tennis and be an electrologist, then well I will be absolutely sure.


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