Mama took Lynda and Kathy and me to the Ringling Barnum and Bailey Circus when it came to Charlotte when I was about nine years old.

I remember sitting on the wooden risers under the big canvas tent watching the antics of the clowns. I was bowled over by the elephants and the trapeze artists. But the most vivid memory - an image laid down by fear - is of Gargantua. Gargantua was advertisd as the largest ape in captivity.

Gargantua was on display in a small painted circus wagon on wheels. It had bars on the open sides and they were backed by glass. I don't temember him doing anything. Mostly he just sat there looking fierce and threatening. I held on tight to Mama's arm while we gawked at the captive.

Thanks to Wikipedia I now know more of Grangantua's story - how he was captured, and finally bought by Ringling in the 1930s as an attraction to bring in more money.

When I reminded my sister Kathy that Mama had taken us to the circus,she said,
"I remember that. Not much. I must have been little."
"Will, yeah, it I was nine you would have been four."
"And I remember Gargantua!"
"I bet every kid that saw him remembers him."

When I called I told Mama I was going to the Circus whith Juliana.
"Ellouise, that's a good idea, that's a really good idea."
"Did you go to the circus when you were a little girl?"
"Yes, I did.
Yes, I did.
I can't say what I saw right now but I know I liked it."

"Mama, do you remember when you took us to see Gargantua?"
'Yes, I do.
He was big and scary, wasn't he?"

Connections are precious.


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