Margaret Benbow’s story, “Joe Szabo and the Gypsy Bride” was published in the Winter, 2014 issue of The Antioch Review and is the winner of the Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction given by the Council for Wisconsin Writers. The story chronicles the day tailors Joe Szabo and his son Abel are asked by the aunt of a beautiful young lady, to make her a wedding gown. The day unfolds as only it can for this family of strong-willed men.
Abel …reflected that his father, his grandfather, and every single one of the Szabo forebears he’d ever heard about were the same: swarthy, barrel-chested, raving men charging their demented projects with their tusks, focusing on the desire like blind wild pigs.
DEVELOPMENT OF “JOE SZABO AND THE GYPSY BRIDE”
by Margaret Benbow
Perhaps the first seed of this story was planted when I was ten years old, and went to the Sauk County Fair with a friend. She pointed out the one family at the fair who stood out from all the others.
“That’s the gypsy family,” she whispered.
They had wild, dark, beautiful faces and bright clothes. They looked so different in kind that they seemed almost different in species from the placid German farmers and their blond offspring. Everybody knew there was only one farmer who would allow them to camp on his land. They returned for a few weeks each year. He said they always left the campsite cleaner than they found it.
During the year, at irregular intervals, he and his family would receive odd, lovely presents, sent without a note from different places. His wife said that the gypsies remembered their friends. They remembered their enemies, too. Continue reading