The Mystic Medicine Show on the Homestead

A medicine show came to our town
often in a wagon with gaudy painted sides and a back that let down to form a
stage. The medicine man always had entertainers who sang, danced and played
musical instruments, but all he did was hawk his wares. He always put on a good
spiel; his medicine, he suggested, would make one feel young again, as well as
cure almost any ailment the men and women of his audience might be suffering

The flickering torches lit up the
scenery in the black night and made everything unreal and spectacular, coloring
the wagon and the entertainers with an eerie glow.

I remember going to one show night
after night to hear the girl entertainer sing. She sang a song that went with
the times, for this was after World War I, and it began like this:

“Sweet Marie, wait for me, in
a side street in old Paree, In the heart of Montmartre,
don’t forget about me, cherie.”

Following the chorus, she recited a
verse and then sang another chorus.

I was 12 or 13 years old then and I
still remember the words and the tune. I have often wondered where the song
originated and who wrote it. I’ve never heard it since that time.

Newlon I. Griffis
Joplin, Missouri

Back in 1955 a call
went out from the editors of the then
Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true
pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their
children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers,
all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made
to create a book, and in 1956, the first
Folks title – My Folks Came in a
Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine
other books have since been published in the
My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to
make those stories available to our growing online community.