A man with the right scruffed-up beard and breadth of chest swaggered into the S and M dungeon that was my place of business, and twenty minutes and one grand later had my chin — still soft with the downy fluff of teen-girl skin — held steady in one paw while the other one flew at my face so hard and fast that I ceased to exist as the same collection of matter I had been the previous instant.
When Sarah’s mother, Penny, got sick four years into our marriage, we decided to move back to Mississippi, considering it penance for the sins of our youth. We signed a lease on a house, a white one-story on the historical register with a wraparound porch and angels, stars, and the moon painted on the transom above the front door.
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Jeannette Gregori studied photography at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg, France, where she lives today. Since 2009 she has been documenting Romani families and the loss of their lifestyles. She took the photo on this month’s cover on a beach in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France, during a Romani pilgrimage in 2015.
Almost fifty years ago 170 Romani families settled in the Polygone district of Strasbourg, France. They parked their caravan vehicles and, over time, constructed homes on empty land near an airfield, often using salvaged materials.
Timi, thirteen, in his bedroom.
Fatis, eighty-six, and his daughter, Touroute. An elder of the community, Fatis could not resign himself to living in a conventional house. He passed away a couple of months after the destruction of the settlement.
Twist and his granddaughter Tifaine share a laugh before watching a European Championship football match on TV. He refused to leave for three months and ultimately tore down his house himself, rather than let others do it.
Touroute and her niece Tickini leave the razed settlement. In the background are the houses the City of Strasbourg built for the Romani.
Romani men prepare a barbecue in the garden in springtime.
Children play in the vacant lot surrounding the Romani settlement.
Cinti and her friends hold their pets in front of her house.
Fillette cooks meals for a dozen grandchildren every day in her kitchen.
Cover by Jeannette Gregori
Nancy (right), her mother, and her two daughters in their garden.
Fatis is honored at the party for a baby’s christening.