Oct

19

Hobo Class, by Bo Keely

October 19, 2006 |

It was Fall of 1985 in Lansing, Michigan, sixty years after the last hobo class had been taught in America. Dusting my clothes after a rough and tumble summer in boxcars, jungles and skid rows around the country, it dawned on me as the first snowflakes fell on my nose that those who can hobo do, and those who won’t any more teach.

There is no more fertile ground to plant a romantic theme than a campus. I walked cold into the Sociology department at Lansing, Michigan College and shook hands with Dr. Dean Heater. ‘My name is Doc Bo, and I want to teach a class about hobo life in America.’ He turned white behind that red tie but his blue eyes twinkled and he surprisingly replied, “Tell me more.”

‘This is the season,’ I explained, ‘when hobos beat a path to winter quarters, and I haven’t picked mine.’ I enumerated that I was a jack-of-trades including a veterinarian, author and publisher, pro jock, landlord, speculator, and world traveler. I had been a boxcar tourist for ten summers in riding all the high irons west of the Mississippi, plus many of the mains to the East. I had attended five national hobo conventions in Britt, Iowa, collected maybe the world’s only and largest hobo library and, smiling quickly, added, ‘I need to make a stake for the spring.’

“Okay,” said Dr. Heater slapping his thigh. ‘Sign up the minimum eight students and you have a hobo class.’ I pumped his hand optimistically and blurt, ‘I’ll call it ‘Hobo Life in America’.

To continue reading this light hearted tale, follow this link.


Comments

Name

Email

Website

Speak your mind

Archives

Resources & Links

Search