Monday, June 25, 2007
The Return of Hobos
In the Above art you see Markings, interptative signs that were used by Hobos in the 1930's. ( I am bringing these Signs/Symbols up for a reason, so hang in there Enigma is going Somewhere with this). The markings were used by unemployed men to communicate with each other as they wandered across the country in search of Work, Food, and Housing. It was a way for the wandering men to take care of each other. Hobos were known for their Independence, but also for their Work Ethic, they were mostly men that had been employed and were creative and thoughtful and talented, and many had held Skilled Employment before the Depression Hit. They used the symbols in trainyards and on the Homes near train yards. They also used the symbols in neighborhoods to let other Hobos know Where it was safe to Sleep, or find Hospitalities such as Good Cooking. They created many of their own symbols and some differ regionally. Some Hobos also were extremely talented, and you may have heard of "Tramp Art" made from useless or discarded objects.
( The odd thing is that there is a difference between Hobos and Tramps, tramps tended to be men that were not working, Hobos were known for seeking work and working hard, quiet diligence).
On the back of my Grandmother's house scratched into the frame by the Kitchen door was what appeared to be a broken clock , it was the symol of a PIE, the highest praise for "Good Cooking". A gardener at their home explained The Symbols to me when I was eight back in the 1960's.
I now live in an Old Neighborhood, and oddly enough there is now a quiet Return of the Hobo Symbols.
I walk my dog and this spring I kept seeing "W"s large, yet daintily inscribed, occasionally on a tree or on a sidewalk in the neighborhood. Finally a good fellow that helps me with my yard saw me looking quizically at the "W" that is down just past my house. I laughed and showed it to him and said " This damnwell better not be a Dubya this close to my house ?!?!?!".
He laughed too, and said "Nope, don't you worry it does NOT stand for That Crook".
(( Cici does yardwork with me, I needed some help and he comes every other week. I give him icewater or lemonade, and sometimes I bake Something. And if it is his last job of the day sometimes we sit on the porch steps and talk Life. He is a Vet with a Limp, and he tells stories with a great sense of Humor, and Southern Manners. I appreciate his help and the quiet diginity that he carries with him.)
So I asked WHAT does the "W" scratched in the Sidewalk stand For ???
It Stands for "WORK".... "Work Available".
And now when I walk the dog I keep an eye peeled for the Markings, the Symbols of Our Own Hobo Era.