Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hobos: "House-less Not Homeless"

Train, road, and silo in Kansas

Britt, Iowa hosts the Hobo Convention every summer. The town has been doing this for 112 years. The most recent was earlier this month.

According to Britt's Hobo Convention web page:

Ask a veteran hobo at a convention jungle what a hobo is and you'll receive a definite answer. 

The hobo is a migratory worker, some with a special skill or trade, others ready to work at any task, but always willing to work to make his way.

The tramp, they'll tell you, is a traveling non-worker, moving from town to town, but never willing to work for the handouts that he begs for. 

A bum is the lowest class, too lazy to roam around and never works.

Awhile back, I introduced two of my great-uncles, Philip and Toby, who were part-time hobos during the Great Depression, riding the rails in search of work.

Train going through New Haven, Missouri

Matt Stopera over at Buzzfeed, wrote this article recently, based on his experience at the 2012 Hobo Convention: 61 Things I Learned at the National Hobo Convention.

Holly Dorhn's dad started riding the rails as a hobby in 2003.  She tells the story here.

"Northbank Fred" offers a rich stockpile of articles about current hobos or offshoots here.

I wonder if Glenn Campbell considers himself a hobo. He does call himself "homeless by choice."

Robert Heinlein wrote Day After Tomorrow, which featured hobos and the hobo jungles. It was about a small group of scientists tasked with taking the U.S. back from "Pan-Asian" invaders (read: Chinese) invaders. One of the characters, Jeff, a well-educated guy who lived the hobo life before the Chinese took over, used the hobo network for his revolutionary activities.

As for me, I'm not a hobo. I am rootless. I'm neither house-less nor homeless, but I don't have my house or my home.

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