Old gypsy wagon being remade to spark the urge to wander!

I wasn’t expecting a few days in the country, but at the last minute, my daughter, Megan booked a cottage near Lake Michigan in the southwestern part of Michigan and I spent a relaxing few days in the country. New studies (which I heard on the radio in Michigan) are touting the health benefits of getting involved in nature and I enjoyed the quiet as well as the fresh air away from the cities and suburbs. I also enjoyed seeing quite a bit of wildlife including wild turkeys, deer, chipmunks and a baby bunny that came out several times a day behind our cottage. The first day as I walked around the grounds of the large resort, I nearly stepped on the bunny, but luckily I always look down when walking in the country as one never knows what’s around. After looking at each other for a while, it scampered back in the large group of lilies and other flowers, which is a great spot for bunnies to make their nests. And while driving around the country roads, two deer ran out in front of me on two separate occasions. Luckily again, I wasn’t traveling too fast and was able to see them up close –both were does and I was afraid that maybe a fawn would be following after Mom, but they were both alone.

Another great find in the collectibles area happened when Megan and I came upon a “gypsy wagon” parked in a yard near where we were staying. The man, Yano Puma, was working on the wagon and also lives in the area. As usual, we got to talking when I noticed that all around the wagon were tables of collectibles, primitives and lots and lots of glassware. Most of the glassware were large Ball Jars with metal lids and many of them were the popular blue color. Yano told us he had contracted to remove items from a mansion on the grounds of the old House of David, which was a popular destination in the early 1900s. The group was a religious sect that operated a famous zoo, amusement park as well as miniature locomotives. Yano will likely be quite busy loading and unloading furniture and other treasures from one of the mansions that had been on the property, but he is also working on the gypsy wagon, which he is painstakingly recreating, using old doors, wooden art pieces as well as an antique wagon seat and painted scenes above the driver’s seat. “I’m using all the old doors down each side of the wagon as a way for people to see how doors offer many opportunities,” he said. The wagon immediately reminded me of “The Wolfman” when the gypsies come to town and Bela, a werewolf (played by Bela Lugosi) bites Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney) and turns him into a werewolf too. The gypsy wagon played a role in several of the Wolfman films of the 1940s.

Yano wrote up a description of the Gypsy Wagon –Here is an excerpt: “This is an artist’s rendering of an 1800s Romany gypsy wagon. Built of collected parts and pieces, including an authentic turn of the century carnival carousel round, period wagon seat and century-old doors. The gypsy wagon has always been a symbol of adventure for me since I saw one in “The Wizard of Oz” and the old “Wolfman” movies. It is a symbol of romance and a wandering soul….The doors of this wagon also hold memories. They are portals of beginning and ending and have been mute witness to the lifetimes they have touched.” Yano Puma, Esq.

A definite Renaissance man and a very creative type, Yano is interested in art work in various forms as well as collectibles and antiques. I plan on visiting him later on in the summer to see what other interesting items he uncovers from the House of David.

And have a safe and happy Fourth of July! Have a wonderful week celebrating our nation’s independence while bidding, shopping and browsing at any of the outstanding auctions, antique sales and shows advertised in Collectors Journal. Please contact us with Auction Action news; mystery items; unusual collections; club and convention news; and other antiques-related matters at meego929@aol.com; editor@collectorsjournal.com; or via telephone at (319) 472-4763.