Bow Top Vardo - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

We are back to looking at the Omrod Giant World of Miniatures today.  The primary challenge visitors have when they examine the dynamic and strange world artist Bob Omrod made, that is on display in the Music Room is trying to see everything.  The two massive table displays represent the majority of the collection; however, there are also pieces on display atop nearby nickelodeons.  Today, we are going to talk about the miniature bow top vardo collection. What's that?  Never heard of a vardo before?  Don't be too harsh on yourself.  You've likely seen them before, just not known what they were called.  They are traditional gypsy wagons.  Of course, there's a general misconception of what gypsies are, too.  This is where the blog gets fun, while also getting a little complicated.

Okay, so.  Gypsies.  Many people regard them as kind of strange and exotic, maybe even threatening. It should be no surprise, based on this, that they are migratory.  That means that they tend to be regarded as immigrants, and we know how many people regard immigrants. Gypsy history dates to 6th century northwestern India.  They call themselves the Romani people.  They have their own language and traditions, and became refugees after a series of conflicts compelled them to find refuge elsewhere.  As they traveled into eastern Europe, their unenthusiastic hosts took notice of their strange language and their darker complexion, and assumed they came from Egypt (hence the name "gypsy").  When they entered a region, the leaders tended to try to force them along or to assimilate them, to make them embrace the local culture.  Because of their strong sense of culture, the latter rarely worked even when force was used, so they had to either fight or move on, living in something similar to a modern mobile home, the vardo.

Vardo is, essentially, a Romani word for wagon.  But what wagons!  Ornate woodwork on both the exterior and interior, garish fabrics, these are pieces of art that reveal not only the resourcefulness of the craftspeople who create them, but the adaptability of a people compelled to live a migratory lifestyle.  Over the course of the last few decades, the Romani people have (finally!) experienced more tolerance from host countries, so they are no longer compelled to move around in their vardos.  Vardos are created today to show off the skills of their creators, rather than as residences.  Of course, it's entirely possible that a gypsy might attach a traditional vardo to the back of their mobile home and drive from town to town. Some people just have the need to mobility.  The vardos at the Treasure Tour are all stationary, and on display for your entertainment.  It's unlikely ours would be very comfortable, though, unless you were two inches tall.
QUESTION:  The HGTV cable channel has a program dedicated to people aspiring to live similarly to the Romani in their vardos.  What is the name of the program?
A)  House Hunters
B)  Flip Or Flop
C)  Design on a Dime
D)  Tiny Houses

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! Everything changed on this day in 1870, because the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified that permitted all men regardless of race to vote in the United States.  Okay, maybe not everything, since the language of the amendment made clear that women were not included, but it was a move in the right direction.  It would be fifty more years before the Nineteenth Amendment gave the same right to women, but that didn't happen on February 3rd.  That was June 19th.  

QUOTE:  In the adjustment of the new order of things, we women demand an equal voice; we shall accept nothing less. - Carrie Chapman Catt

ANSWER:  D)  Tiny Houses