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Are We Really Who We Portray?

Updated on July 15, 2011
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"I hear that the travellers have moved into town. You know, the house on the hill, yeah they moved in yesterday"

Rumaging in her hand bag for the black leather purse to pay for her groceries, the woman wearing the white scarf on her head continued.

"I personally think it is a matter for the council to home those type of people, they shouldn't be allowed to live in the community with good living people such as ourselves. We can't rest in our beds for the thought of what they could do to us."

The woman was getting an audience now, so encouraged, she went on.

"That lovely house owned by Patrick Miller, yes the one on the top of the hill, will be turned into a junk yard of old steel gates and the very copper pipes at the back of our homes will be stolen whilst we sleep in our beds. That young boy will go to the school that our children attend and they will come home with nits in their hair, It doesn't bear thinking about".

With a shrug to her neighbours, the woman thanked the shop assistant for her groceries and proceeded to walk out into the street, banging the door behind her.

"Prejudiced, no not Mrs Tully, she is a good Christian woman like the rest of us," the store owner said in Mrs Tully's defence.

The shop keeper carried on to say,

"We all have a responsibility to each other to protect our neighbourhood, and when people like that move in we should all stand together, proud and in the knowledge that our community is a good one. We must hold a community meeting and seek advice from our local counsellor. I will be sure to let you know the date."

Now, I was amused by what I had just heard, but not in the slightest way surprised. I took my turn in the queue to pay for my groceries, smiled and spoke pleasantly to the neighbours, my neighbours, my new neighbours before gathering my goods together and leaving the premises.

Walking home to the house on the hill, I didn't dwell on what I had heard, but in fact, felt sorry for the insecurity that this community must feel. How sad to think that one family, travellers or otherwise could pose such a threat.

I had never really considered our position before, but laughed out loud at the thought that my family could be the topic of a community meeting.

I could see where they were coming from. My husband drove a skip lorry and had long hair in a pony tail and a beard which did nothing for his persona. My dad loved nothing more than to ramble the roadside picking blackberries for me to make his favourite crumble and apple and blackberry jam. My son loved the thought of being a farmer when he grew up, and was frequently seen herding our lurcher dogs along the road with a stick.

We owned two spotted horses, Appaloosas, which grazed the field beside us, and gasp..... I drove a Toyota Hi-ace van.

The more I was inclined to recall the discussion I had heard the more comical it became. Yes, my husband really did look the part of a gypsy, but at least he was employed; the spotted horses in the field, mmm I could see the sense of that. But how wrong could people be. The Hi-ace van was used to carry bales of hay and hard feed for the horses. My dad was a retired manual worker for Leyland Motors and as for me, I was the advertising manager for a group of magazines published in Dublin.

What crime had we committed? We loved the countryside, respected our privacy and nurtured our family. We were good honest hard working people who loved and respected the attributes of the Appaloosa horse. In fact we were just the same as our neighbours, good Christian people. And I so looked forward to attending our first local community meeting. Ha, what a farce!

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    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Gail, thank you for your truly kind and encouraging comment. I wrote this hub to show how hurtful it can be to be "grouped", name tagged without any reason other than what people view. I don't know how I could keep the same pace if I was to expand on the story, but I will take your's and Martie's advice and have a look. x

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Thought-provoking hub. Oh how we fear those who we perceive as different, especially if they are new and travelers. Sometimes our fears turn out to be correct, but other times they're way off base. It takes time and a deliberate effort to keep our minds open in an honest effort to get beyond our initial impressions. Sometimes what's behind the facade of what we thought we initially saw turns out to be a pure heart of gold.

      I agree with Martie that this could be the beginnings of a short story.

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Thank you Bill. I don't believe that anyone has the right to invade private land, no matter who they are. TV? wow it is hard to believe that they didn't get seen, I wonder if she put it in the pram and carried the baby out lol

      I don't have too much common sense, I am just to open at times and land myself into all sorts of trouble. It is a good job that Gordon has a clear mind about things and keeps me grounded lol

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Oh, I understood your point of mistaken identity, and that does happen. But I recently read another Hub defending the travelers presumed right to trespass on private property in the UK, and I strongly disapprove of such leftist notions.

      My wife told me that one Gypsy family stole everything from the room where the wife delivered, including the TV! They are still wondering how they got it out!

      Being very suspicious of Gypsies is not prejudice. It's common sense.

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi Bill, I can sense by your directness that I touched a nerve here. I agree completely with you, but I also have to take individuals as I find them. I don't like prejudice of any kind, and stay away from conflicts that brings. However, I have been on the end of some very nasty travellers around our farm at that time in my life. Ignorant, arrogant and thieves, and tended to shake them off as best as I could do. My Hub represents a time of my life that was surrounded in pain and it was not nice to receive the same prejudices as the travellers encounter, ours was mistaken identity, and very misplaced. x

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Hi my dear friend Martie, thank you so much for your lovely insightful comment. Now I wonder, I had never thought of extending on this part of my life, actually it was sad and painful and probably well hidden because I would have to be very brave to live more of those experiences again. But I will keep an open mind on it hunnie. xx

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Vinaya, Good morning young man, how are you today? As always I am glad to see you stop by and leave your lovely comment. It is so sad that people are indeed grouped into certain categories, as Bill say's, sometimes because they are all who they appear to be; and sadly at other times mistaken identity.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      BTW, my wife is a labor and delivery nurse, and they often get Gypsy patients. They have learned from sad experience that anything not nailed down will be stolen, so they have to call security. And no, they never have insurance and always refuse to pay their own way.

      They earn their sorry reputations.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      When a group of people has such a bad reputation, how do you suppose they got it?

      A man and woman pair of Gypsies robbed several elderly people here in Phoenix. My parents were two of their victims, and identified them when they were caught. My parents lost over $1,000. Their only crime was allowing the woman to use their bathroom.

      They earn their reputations.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      People! Most people are narrow-minded, prejudiced, convergent thinkers. One cannot take them to heart. We can just live on and sooner or later they may realize that we are worthy of respect and admiration, and if they don't, they merely stay where/what/who they are while we conquer our worlds.

      Annette, this hub could be developed into an excellent short story - for HP's competition of the month. Send me your thoughts via e-mail - I will give you some ideas. It is time my friend for you to realize that you are indeed a very talented writer with the ability to reach the highest peaks.

      Voted up and upper.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      7 years ago from Nepal

      I love the philosophical question this story tries to solve: the search for our identity. You write on serious issue in amusing style, nice work.

    • thebluestar profile imageAUTHOR

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      We have an epi on hub pages so I shall call you opi. Wouldn't it just be brilliant to live the life of a traveller, but with the constraints that most people have these days, it could only ever be a dream for most of us.

    • justmyopiniontoo profile image

      justmyopiniontoo 

      7 years ago

      Very evocative, maybe we all should be travellers and get back to nature

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      7 years ago

      ... well I always(will) portray 'you' as a loving, decent, open-minded individual with a pure heart for love and understanding - and that always comes through in every sentence you write - which is a true gift to your readers and comes with such genuine intentions and purity that I believe you really must be an angel sent to us .......

      lake erie time 1:46am with a full moon over the lake and sending you these warm wishes and positive happy thoughts.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Hi bluestar, sometimes people need a little time to either please or disappoint you.

      You have done well to wrap up an important message in so small a package.

      We used to go on horse-drawn carriage holidays in the country, here in Oz. Where the wagons were pulled by magnificent Clydesdale horses. Sometimes other holiday makers would ask for photos of us 'travellers', probably to scare their children with. Cheers

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Very good, Annette!

    • MysteriousOne profile image

      MysteriousOne 

      7 years ago

      Awesome hub, Ms.bluestar! Great job!

      voted up/awesome

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      7 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Bluestar, your a great writer.The story is very interesting

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      7 years ago

      Wonder Hub Bluestar, Who are we anyway? and do we all judge in our own small way...Mmm, if we're honest we do, sadly, we do. But it's the big person who says, "I judged Wrong"...and hopefully Learns from it.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      I hope you tell us how that meeting turned out! How wrong could people be....I know, I hear others sum up some unsuspecting people all the time.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Wonderful work thebluestar.

      The Frog

    • D.G. Smith profile image

      D.G. Smith 

      7 years ago

      profiling.....they do it so much better on police dramas (lol),,,,

      its a good thing there is no prejudice , and it is just 'good Christians' involved otherwise there could be problems at that meeting(lol)

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