Tender Teacher

Sharing stories about my personal and professional life as a teacher.

Forties – Hobos

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Two hobos walking along railroad tracks, after...

Image via Wikipedia

Growing up near the railroad tracks, a water tower, and  a tie yard allowed for more than just the excitement of the coming train.  There were hobos who knocked at the back door occasionally.  Mom called them tramps.  She said that they were harmless, but on the other hand, she reminded us often to always come in the house if any adult came into our yard.

I only remember the knock at the back door happening a few times.  They asked for a bite to eat.  The ones I saw looked pretty unkempt and sad to me.  Mom would offer them a cup of coffee, and a plate of whatever food we had on hand, usually beans and crackers, and she would quickly lock the door.  They would eat outside on the back steps, and leave the dish and cup on the porch.

Most of them hopped back on the train.  However one time, I remember overhearing people talk about a tramp “hanging around “, and talk of whose house he had begged for food at last.  Word spread fast in those days.   People were very aware of what was going on in our neighborhood, and they alerted everyone nearby.  It was your “civic duty” to look out for your neighbors.  I heard from my older cousin about a hobo she thought was sleeping in the tie yard.  Somehow that was pretty scary for me, and even though mom had said that they were harmless, she wouldn’t let us go outside and play for several days.  I knew what was going on, but knew better than to ask “too many questions”.   In the forties it was the custom that children were kept “innocent” as long as possible.  Innocent and protected.

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Written by kjskjp

September 14, 2010 at 12:19 am

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