Friday, 7 October 2011
02:58:08 PM (GMT)
HOBO BRAINSTORMING. WHAT IS THIS.
migratory workers, hobos - "workers who wander", bums - "do not work at all",
"hobereau" - gentleman of the countryside, 1930s - great depression OR 1980s/1990s -
development of liberties and freedoms but also time of economic difficulty and high
unemplyoment - still under shadow of cold war?, (railroad) tramps - "work when they
are forced to", travelling, spiritual enlightenment, "Into The Wild",
midwestern/northwestern USA, runaways, rejects from parish communities?
perverse preists?, "Wild Boys of the Road",
FTRA - "Freight Train Riders of America" - started in 1980s Montana with 12
members - "criminal underworld brotherhood", Great Northern Railway(only till
1970)/"Hi-Line", Seattle to Minneapolis, FTRA wear black or blue bandanas, white
supremesist group? research needed, drug traffiking, food stamp fraud,
thefts and burglary, murder and beating of other hobos - serial killer Robert Joseph
"Sidetrack" Silveria Jr, killed 28 people - founder named "Daniel Boone", founded
on the basis of camaraderie between people sharing a similar lifestyle, and not as a
criminal nor a hate group,
Life as a hobo was a dangerous one. In addition to the problems of being
itinerant, poor, far from home and support, and the hostile attitude of many train
crews, the railroads employed their own security staff, often nicknamed bulls,
who had a reputation for being rough with trespassers. Also, riding on a freight
train is a dangerous enterprise. The British poet W.H. Davies, author of The
Autobiography of a Super-Tramp, lost a foot falling under the wheels while
trying to jump a train. One could easily get trapped between cars, or freeze to death
in bad weather. When freezer cars were loaded at an ice factory, any hobo inside was
likely to be killed.
Accommodation car the caboose of a train
Angellina young inexperienced child
Bad Road a train line rendered useless by some hobo's bad action
Banjo (1) a small portable frying pan. (2) a short, "D" handled shovel
Barnacle a person who sticks to one job a year or more
Beachcomber a hobo who hangs around docks or seaports
Big House prison
Bindle stick collection of belongings wrapped in cloth and tied around a
Bindlestiff a hobo who carries a bindle.
Blowed-in-the-glass a genuine, trustworthy individual
"'Bo" the common way one hobo referred to another: "I met that 'Bo on the way
to Bangor last spring".
Boil Up specifically, to boil one's clothes to kill lice and their eggs.
Generally, to get oneself as clean as possible
Bone polisher a mean dog
Bone orchard a graveyard
Bull a railroad officer
Buck a Catholic priest good for a dollar
Buger today's lunch
C, H, and D indicates an individual is Cold, Hungry, and Dry (thirsty)
California Blankets newspapers, intended to be used for bedding
Calling In using another's campfire to warm up or cook
Cannonball a fast train
Carrying the Banner keeping in constant motion so as to avoid being picked up
for loitering or to keep from freezing
Catch the Westbound to die
Chuck a dummy pretend to faint
Cover with the moon sleep out in the open
Cow crate a railroad stock car
Doggin' it traveling by bus, especially on the Greyhound bus line
Easy mark a hobo sign or mark that identifies a person or place where one can
get food and a place to stay overnight
Elevated under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Flip to board a moving train
Flop a place to sleep, by extension: "Flophouse", a cheap hotel.
Glad Rags one's best clothes
Grease the Track to be run over by a train
Gump a scrap of meat
Honey dipping working with a shovel in the sewer
Hot (1) a fugitive hobo. (2) a decent meal: "I could use three hots and a
Hot Shot train with priority freight, stops rarely, goes faster; synonym for
Jungle an area off a railroad where hobos camp and congregate
Jungle Buzzard a hobo or tramp who preys on their own
Knowledge bus a school bus used for shelter
Main Drag the busiest road in a town
Moniker / Monica a nickname
Maeve a child hobo usually a girl
Mulligan a type of community stew, created by several hobos combining
whatever food they have or can collect
Nickel note five-dollar bill
On the Fly jumping a moving train
Padding the hoof to travel by foot
Possum Belly to ride on the roof of a passenger car. One must lie flat, on
his/her stomach, to not be blown off
Pullman a railroad sleeper car. Most were made by George Pullman company.
Punk any young kid
Reefer a compression of "refrigerator car".
Road kid a young hobo who apprentices himself to an older hobo in order to
learn the ways of the road
Road stake the small amount of money a hobo may have in case of an emergency
Rum dum a drunkard
Sky pilot a preacher or minister
Soup bowl a place to get soup, bread and drinks
Snipes cigarette butts "sniped" (e.g. in ashtrays)
Spear biscuits looking for food in garbage cans
Stemming panhandling or mooching along the streets
Tokay Blanket drinking alcohol to stay warm
Yegg a traveling professional thief, or burglar
To cope with the difficulty of hobo life, hobos developed a system of symbols, or a
code. Hobos would write this code with chalk or coal to provide directions,
information, and warnings to other hobos. Some signs included "turn right here",
"beware of hostile railroad police", "dangerous dog", "food available here", and so
on. For instance:
* A cross signifies "angel food," that is, food served to the hobos after a
* A triangle with hands signifies that the homeowner has a gun.
* A horizontal zigzag signifies a barking dog.
* A square missing its top line signifies it is safe to camp in that location.
* A top hat and a triangle signify wealth.
* A spearhead signifies a warning to defend oneself.
* A circle with two parallel arrows means to get out fast, as hobos are not
welcome in the area.
* Two interlocked humans signify handcuffs. (i.e. hobos are hauled off to jail).
* A Caduceus symbol signifies the house has a medical doctor living in it.
* A cross with a smiley face in one of the corners means the doctor at this
office will treat hobos for free.
* A cat signifies that a kind lady lives here.
* A wavy line (signifying water) above an X means fresh water and a campsite.
* Three diagonal lines mean it's not a safe place.
* A square with a slanted roof (signifying a house) with an X through it means
that the house has already been "burned" or "tricked" by another hobo and is not a
* Two shovels, signifying work was available (Shovels, because most hobos did
HOBO ETHICAL CODE:
An ethical code was created by Tourist Union #63 during its 1889 National Hobo
Convention in St. Louis Missouri. This code was voted upon as a concrete set of
laws to govern the Nation-wide Hobo Body; it reads this way:
1. Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you.
2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a
gentleman at all times.
3. Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or
4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody
wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should
you return to that town again.
5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents
6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for
locals' treatment of other hobos.
7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo
will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.
8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.
10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause
no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who
will need passage through that yard.
13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to
authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help
16. If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or
against the accused, your voice counts!
Campion, Cameron, Aaliyah, Falkenburg, Esther, Farah, Rudford, Fallon, Delaney, "Jim
Rafferty", Calamity, Tucker, Cal, Dmitry, Davenport, Stitch, Franklin,
O'Sullivan/O'Rilley/O'Malley/O'Kelly, Cartwright, McDonald/McMahon/McCartney, Wilson,
"the Trainyard Aristotle"
"the Waterproof Man"
"the Progidal Halfwit"
"the Kerosene Kid"
"the Boston Penguin/the Pennsylvania Snowman"
"the Guy With Icewater In His Veins But Probably Not Literally"
"the Smelliest Hobo In the World, Probably"
"the Guy Your Parents Were Specifically Referring To When They Said Not To Talk To
Last edited: 8 October 2011