Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hobo's Leavings

They felt the need to leave their names carved in the woodshed's planks. The McHenry Loop was a dead end. A tricky little turn around. If they wanted to keep going west, they would have had to walk across the prairie to the main line.

Some wrote their names like a brand, with flourish. A couple drew a profile, perhaps unable to write.  Indian Dave, GA Slim, Red, Omaha Kid, Hank the tie tramp, and Rock Island Whity left permanent proof that they had passed through. No amount of paint layers will obliterate their ~ I was here.  1904. 1917......

It is art, hidden mostly in tall prairie grass. What was graffiti then, becomes a creative record of a hobo's wandering now. If only we could follow their trail of carvings left behind across the wide expanse of America's railways.


Craig said...

Rolls along past houses, farms and fields.
Passin' trains that have no names,
Freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.

Good morning America how are you?
Don't you know me I'm your native son,

Thank you my love for recording My Hometown History! (:

Kathleen Overby said...

PS. For anyone wanting to know, that little spur from McHenry to Valley City was called, The Goose. It hauled cream cans, mail, and passengers - Monday through Friday at 10:25 by the Overby Homestead.

Anonymous said...

just passing through, we leave our mark.

Anonymous said...

i'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done...

now i have that song stuck in my little pea brain.

Maureen said...

That would be an interesting subject for a book. Makes me wonder if anyone's tried to track such markings down.

Anonymous said...

You find the most amazing things to write about, so refreshing. what an amazing daughter I have.