ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

One More Pat-on-the-Back for the Hobo

Updated on October 8, 2019
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a rural citizen of Hamilton, Ala., and has begun to observe life and certain things and people helping him to write about them.


The Hobo’s Etymology

is unknown. Possibly a term for a stowaway traveler out of the Hoboken, NJ train yards, or a contraction of ho, boy, or the dialectal English term hawbuck (“lout, clumsy fellow, country bumpkin”). It could also be an abbreviation for homeless boy or homeward bound. This history-based definition of a hobo says that the hobo was a male when history also recorded that a lot of hobos were female. But when their lives were on the line in a time when living from one day to the next meant survival, hobos were the same—no male or female, just homeless, jobless traveling souls without a home in search of a job.

The life of a hobo was far from easy. But you would have to ask a real life hobo in order to gain a truthful answer. The reason that many people (including myself) have been smoked for many years about a hobo living the free, good, life, eating unsold food at the back door of any restaurant whom the hobo had secured the food with some believable “sob story,” in order to get food upon request. When

the truth is known, a hobo sometimes met with a painful death due to starvation for the simple reason of not having food to eat. In the case of the hobo doing a favor or two for a certain restaurant may be the only avenue of survival for the hobo without food.

And another cold truth is that some hobo’s had to do shop-lifting to just have clothing to travel on the road to meet with yet another business that might give him a job, which was not that much in demand for places of employment due to the percentage of employment being near 100% (in the U.S.A.) when factories, businesses, even those in small sectors, had to shut-down because of no money. Yes, everyone had a hurt to contend with each passing day—and the hobo was not immune to that depressing hurt that was shared by those who once had seemingly had everything that they needed.

Now You Have Read

the truth about the hobo, but instead of going on and on to further depress you because I happen to know that (among my followers—me included) are considered “sensitive” when it comes to the welfare of others.

I would like to get on the “Sunshine Route” to see if there is a few areas of positive areas of life that we can attach to and although we fully-understand the horrible, sad lives of hobos, we might read the following items of information to see if the information should be attached to the life of a hobo. But I want to use myself as the first person in the following lists.

Names That I Would Like

to use if I were to follow the life of a true hobo:

  • “Sy”
  • “Gordon”
  • “Dewey”
  • “Lathem”
  • “Gilbert”
  • “Thomas”
  • “D.W. Dillon”

Wardrobe Choices That I Would Like

to use when it comes to going out into the pubic:

  • A necktie, not a clip-on, but a real tie that I will have to take classes at my local community college on “How to Correctly Tie The Tie.”
  • Slacks that are not slick from being worn almost to a frazzle.
  • A hat that has style like those that men wore before the Crash of ‘29.
  • Alligator slippers that I would keep shined even if I had to pan handle for some store to keep shoe polish for my slippers.
  • I would not travel with a dog or cat because that means another mouth to feed, and I want to only be responsible for my own mouth. This way is more economically-efficient.
  • A white or colorful shirt, but not too colorful. If I am going to be a real hobo, then if I show-up wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt, this image tells people I am a Phony Hobo and be told to get out no matter where I happen to be.
  • If I am blessed for someone to either buy or give me a delicious meal, I will only eat half of the food because I want to save some for traveling down the road when there are no cafe’s.
  • And NO stick on my shoulder carrying what clothes I have in a bag. This image says, “I am a card-carrying poor hobo and I have nothing but my clothing.”

Phrases That I Would Use if I Were a Hobo

  • “Morning, sir/ma’am. Do not worry. I am not going to beg for any of your Prime Rib.” (some reverse psychology.)
  • “Ma’am, may I just say that although my pants and shirt are full of holes, I know that there are other hobo’s that are worse off than me.”
  • “No, sir. Thank you for the offer of a hot bath, a warm bed, and a few cheeseburgers, but if I partake of your gifts, that might make me to be soft and not self-sufficient.”
  • “Please stop that song on your radio! No one daring to be Real Hobo would be called “Hobo Bill.”
  • “Sir, would you please donate a quarter for me give to a person down the block who does not have anything?”
  • “Mr. Beat Cop, sir, I know that I am not allowed to sleep on the sidewalk, so would you please point me in the direction of a vacant lot or deserted building to where I can sleep tonight?”
  • “Oh, ma’am, do not think that I am a hobo, just a man who is out of a job.”

Seriously, I hope that something in this piece will put the Real Hobos of America in a brighter light.

August 30, 2019_____________________________________________________

I Would Like to Ride a Bicycle Instead of Walking if I Were a Hobo


© 2019 Kenneth Avery


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      14 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Readmikenow . . .thank you sincerely for your much-appreciated comments.

      Several years ago, I met this man in my bank where I do business and we began talking about hobos and hitching rides.

      I asked what the railroad company would do if I got caught? He laughed and said, make you get off, because YOU did not steal the train and you did not due damage to it.

      And I am still dreaming.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      14 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Elijah . ..well, just hearing that you have rode any distance on a moving train is more than I will do in this stage of life.

      Much peace to you and take things easy.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      14 months ago from Washington DC

      Kenneth, I only rode a rail car once, that was 1960 and only rode it from one side of Fort Worth, TX to another to see a girl rather than take a bus, since 1977 I've been walking highway trails.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      14 months ago

      Interesting article. I have been fascinated by hobos and have found there are modern hobos who still hop trains. There is a man how hitchhikes around the world actually and has a website called Hobolifestyle where he shares his adventures. I've not ever been bold or daring enough to try such a thing. I enjoyed reading this article.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      14 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      John, thanks so very much for your time in spending your thoughts and comments this place. You are right. History made in the present time will be who and what we hold on to in future days.

      Thanks again, John. Write me anytime.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      14 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Oh, dear Kathy . . .your comment caused my memories of my mom who at a toddler, saw her mother feed several hobo's during the depression and when these guys told you that jobs were not found, they meant it. But my mother and her mom did as your family, they would have water, if they had it, and biscuits and ham to give to these men. Some people, she said, called the men, tramps. She did not. My mom is resting in Heaven right now and I can tell you that she had the biggest heart and sensitivity about others that I have ever been around.

      Of course I am biased, but I think that she would like that.

      Kathy, visit with me anytime you like.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      14 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Thank you, Elijah, for your very interesting take on hobo's. I do appreciate it so much. You have shared something with me that I did not know before and that too, I appreciate it.

      Happy Rails.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      15 months ago from Washington DC

      After attending as a hobo the "Hobo Convention" of 1980 in Britt, Iowa to talk with them and later read up on then, the American hobo was a shorting of "hoe boys" during the Great Depression of 1930s. Boys (the actual name of adults who produce sperm for humans) who couldn't earn a living for their families took a hoe, bedroll and change of clothes to walk the road seeking work to provide for their families. Most of their earnings were sent to their families. After the depression some continued the life and began to ride trains that became a fad.

      Like always, Kenneth, you had to add your twist of humor to it to make it fun reading.

    • faith-hope-love profile image

      John Ward 

      15 months ago from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

      Hobos are a huge part of western History, It could be said of World History. What did we learn from that Period. In my humble opinion not very much. So we are doomed to repeat until the lessons of the period are learned and they are assimilated. A lesson learned and not put to the benefit of Society is one that we may well not have been given.

    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      Kathy Henderson 

      15 months ago from Pa

      I have always had a warm heart for the - Hobo- this fate could easily be any of us if situations and circumstance attack. My PopPop told me stories of men riding the trains, and then hopping off, walking up the hill to the front porch where my Nana and great Grandma would have sandwiches to hand out for a healthy snack. They appreciated the act of kindness and came to know they could trust the stop for a meal. Lovely article sharing their history.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)