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Hobos Do you remember ?
Old 09-13-2018, 10:07 AM   #1
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Hobos Do you remember ?

I know I am that old but last Saturday a few of my friends from Ohio and us got together . We were telling our sons and his GF about growing up as kids .
We lived in Central Ohio right on the Licking River and a rail line seemed to follow the river. We would sometimes play around the rails and the river and under a train bridge there used to be a place where Hobo's would gather .
We would talk with them and they would talk with us . Our parents used to tell us a story about an evil man that lived in the woods named Simp . One of my friends asked one of the Hobo's about Simp and the story got bigger.
We told our son about these guys and he thought it was from the Grapes Of Wrath.
Do any of you remember Hobo's
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:23 AM   #2
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I know I am that old but last Saturday a few of my friends from Ohio and us got together . We were telling our sons and his GF about growing up as kids .
We lived in Central Ohio right on the Licking River and a rail line seemed to follow the river. We would sometimes play around the rails and the river and under a train bridge there used to be a place where Hobo's would gather .
We would talk with them and they would talk with us . Our parents used to tell us a story about an evil man that lived in the woods named Simp . One of my friends asked one of the Hobo's about Simp and the story got bigger.
We told our son about these guys and he thought it was from the Grapes Of Wrath.
Do any of you remember Hobo's
No problem at all remembering, I encounter some every day. They are all over Seattle, under bridges, in tents down at Pioneer Square, I was told that they are even in Seattle Center. I am very glad that although I see one every few days in our dumpster, they always seem to move on. In our modern be nice speech, they are usually called street people.

Ha
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:47 AM   #3
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As an aside, I read that the hobos had a code of markings in front of houses . It would indicate if they could get food, of if the homeowner would chase them, etc.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:53 AM   #4
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My dad used to tell stories of his days "riding the rails" as a hobo.
In fact, it was only for a couple of months one summer in the 1930s, but he liked to romanticize it for effect.

The idea was that hobos were merely traveling around looking for work, unlike today's homeless who are essentially rooted to one place.

Some hobo markings:
https://weburbanist.com/2010/06/03/h...n-nomad-codes/
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:54 AM   #5
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Parents called them "tramps," and we kids were afraid of meeting one. I never did - we lived too far from trains. Hoboes and tramps are nomadic.

As an adult, I have known some street people (parents would have called them bums, but I associate "bum" with a nasty person, and these people were fairly harmless). They tended to stay in one area, unless driven out by cops or preyed on by criminals.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:55 AM   #6
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Although it upset my grandmother, my aunt used to make big pots of soup to take to the hobos living under the railroad bridge in Los Altos at dinnertime during the Depression. I wonder if there are any of the current crop of drug addicts, alcoholics and mentally ill people that comprise today's hobos living there today.
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:36 AM   #7
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I live 1 mile from a rail switch yard. Containerized shipping killed off the hobos riding the rails. Many still follow the tracks though. A friend used to work for Conrail. He would have an extra sandwich with him to give to the travelers as he shoo'ed them on their way.
I'm 3 miles from the Old Erie Canal and use the bike paths often. In '09 there were a lot of travelers on the paths and the local police would have to keep them from camping over night.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:34 PM   #8
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My mother told me a lot of story's about the hobo's. Ride the rail and stay a while here and there seemed to move on. Most she talked about was in the twenties and thirty's.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:52 PM   #9
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It's all colorful and fun until you get a whiff

Advice from a former hobo:
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:54 PM   #10
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We lived on a farm near the tracks when I was young. Mom always had a sandwich and a warning for hobo's. She gave them the sandwich while informing them that hubby carried a gun while working the farm (he did). He had no tolerance for "freeloaders" so it was best for the hobo's to take the sandwich and move along.

She had a kind heart for anyone.
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:00 PM   #11
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As kids, in the 1940's, hobos were kinda like the "bogey man". Grandma Miller's house was just a few miles from the Massachusett/Rhode Island border, and not too far from the highway or the railroad.
We, my four cousins and I, would once in a while see what we were sure were hobos or "bums", and the ladies (my aunts), in the family did nothing to dissuade the fear. My uncle Dean was a state policeman and told us stories of the ones he caught. Jail overnight with free meal.
Grandma told the story about leaving pies out to cool, and how they'd disappear, but we think it might have been my uncle Tommy, who was about 7 years older than us.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Red Badger View Post
We lived on a farm near the tracks when I was young. Mom always had a sandwich and a warning for hobo's. She gave them the sandwich while informing them that hubby carried a gun while working the farm (he did). He had no tolerance for "freeloaders" so it was best for the hobo's to take the sandwich and move along.

She had a kind heart for anyone.
+1
My Mom also told me of hobo's who would come to the door looking for food. She would give them something to eat outside, and tell them where they might find work.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:41 PM   #13
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We used to search the woods for "Three fingered Louie", not sure if he was a Hobo or how many fingers he had in total (3, 4 or 7)? But your story reminded me of a great song!
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:45 PM   #14
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We lived approx. 200yards from the rails but they never came to our house . We were talking about how the Hobo's would be here and then be gone . I remember one time a bunch of us kids boys and girls walked down the tracks to where they stayed and they told us we had to leave because we had the girls with us . .
They would tell us they worked on farms and how much fun it was traveling across country.
We never had a real fear of them . But that character ( simp ) who our parents created to keep us away from the Hobo's sure scared us . He was an evil man that lived in the woods who was crazy. Sometimes the big kids would say they seen Simp at night and we would all show up with our B B guns.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:23 PM   #15
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Don’t know if they fall into the same category or not but ran into gypsys in my prior life. A nice looking couple would rent a room for one night with cash at the hotel and before you knew it there were whole families moving in. Then they started extending the stay without paying. Stripped most stuff out of the room and left in the middle of the night. Very organized bunch and good at deception.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:58 PM   #16
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I don't remember these Hobo's ever stealing anything . We still see gypsies around Houston . They prey on small machine shops . Scope out their scrap steel then steal it and anything else .
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:34 PM   #17
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I am 77 years old and I have never seen a hobo. There are freeloaders all over, particularly in Seattle since our city council loves to spend money on useless issues. But Mom's giving out sandwiches? Hard enough to find a Mom home anywhere. And if one of these bums showed up at a mom's door today she would be on the phone to the police, FBI, whatever she could think of. And if she was misdirected enough to give out a sandwich, next thing would be a lawsuit for gastrointestinal damage.

How old are you guys anyway?
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:10 AM   #18
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Ahh, the Hobo Jungle. Heat beans up in the can they came in, over an open fire. Maybe some newspapers for bedding.

As a kid, I lived not far from a 3-track mainline. No place for hobos to camp, or reason to be there. There were no abandoned factories nor big wooded areas by the tracks to hang out in. And being first-class track, and more than 10 miles from the big rail yards, the freights were rolling too fast to jump on/off. There was no Hobo Health Plan back then

The only freights that slowed down or stopped, were for switching a car or two onto sidings of a couple factories or lumberyards. Way too infrequent, and wouldn't know when they were due.

I do remember that for may years that all empty boxcars were running with the doors on both sides wide open. Would occasionally see some guy sitting in the doorway, or standing up looking out hanging onto the edge of a door. Wasn't very often, what quick look I got they looked scruffy. They may have thought the same thing about me! Probably thought: "there's a scruffy-looking kid that ain't eatin' well, no sense breakin' muh neck gettin' off here!"
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:39 AM   #19
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I remember many of us boys would dress up as hobos for halloween, complete with 5 o'clock shadow, a pole with some belongings tied up in a red bandana hanging from it.
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:07 AM   #20
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"Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let 50 cents"....

I think that the hobos are gone now and we're confusing them with homeless people; an entirely different lifestyle, mindset and situation.

After grandma died, my then 78 year old multimillionaire grandpa got in his head that he wanted to 'go hobo' and travel around by hopping trains. He had some outdated, romantic vision of the life.

We convinced him to go visit relatives across the country instead and, if he wanted to rough it, fly coach.
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