The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Friday, December 19, 2003

Andrew Sullivan publishes a letter from a reader who cites the experience of her grandfather to explain that hobos are not bums:

Before settling down, to become a railroad worker and early union organizer, he spent a couple of years (from age 15) "hobo-ing" around the western United States. He was very adamant that this was an honorable pastime. A hobo, he said, is not a bum. He goes from place to place and looks for honest work to earn his food and a place to sleep - he is NOT looking for a hand-out.

During the Depression my grandfather travelled Appalachia doing itinerant work (he supported his family as his father died young). Often he would find a place to sleep by going to jail. He didn't need to get arrested; he would seek out the local police station and ask if he could sleep in a cell, and they were happy to oblige him. Grandpa never referred to himself as a "hobo" though.



Post a Comment