name is Robert Ridgley Lovell I was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
My father Adolphus came to the port of New Plymouth in the latter
years of WW2. He served in the British Merchant Marine doing his
bit alongside Gorgor (non-Rom) folk as many Romani chals (men) did
father met my mother in 1947 and he decided to jump ship to marry
her and settle in New Zealand. My mother's family was a large one
and my grandparent's hid dad for six months on a farm. Father gave
himself up in an amnesty and after serving six months in stiriphen
(goal) was allowed to stay.
mother's folks were of Scottish/traveller descent and my Grandfather
Smoky Bill and Grandmother Pearl had 10 children. As was common
in those days most of them lived in the one house, including my
parents, me and my brothers and sisters. There was always a lot
of get togethers and much singing, music and dancing.
where Bob was born
childhood days were wonderful, as we spent much time working on
farms. Haymaking was hard and draft horses were still used for the
heavy work. Dad looked after the grai (horses) as he was an expert
in their handling.
slow to learn reading and writing and only liked art and nature
study. I remember one time we got a new lady teacher; she had just
arrived from the UK. Well one day she said to me to go up to the
blackboard and spell out a word. I couldn't spell it and the other
kid's were laughing, the teacher made me sit down again and as I
passed her she said ever so quietly, silly gypo!
never heard gypo before so that night I asked father what it was.
Well he jumped up from his chair shouting who said that to you boyo.
The next morning he was down to the school and that teacher never
called me names again.
Bob's story continues »