I was, I don't know, six. The teacher asked brightly what we knew about gypsies. Ever eager to show off my knowledge, I stood up and said they stole children. I don't know what story I'd got that from.
Half a century later and we're still giving them prejudice. Dirty thieves etc. France is moving them on; in Istanbul, they're knocking down and rebuilding houses as "transformation projects" and offering the romanies the chance to buy the new houses (which they can't afford) or fresh rentals 40 kilometres away. These people, ironically, had been among the first to abandon their ancient nomadic life.
Here's a couple of gypsy blogs: Pesha's blog and Clearwater Gypsies.
And for those who missed it, here's the recent Channel 4 programme "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding". A community where even the tough guys fear God and the girls are chaste until they marry.
I've never been happier than when leaving somewhere.