Where Did All the Interesting Characters Go?

Chad Lewis

Chad Lewis
Chad Lewis

Good Weather for Tramps

Eau Claire Leader | Oct. 16, 1907

“The festive hobo has begun to make his appearance in the city. He come not singly, but in bunches like the falling leaves of autumn. In municipal court four hoboes were arraigned on a vagrancy charge. They told tales of woe that have never before been made public save in exciting chapters of the yellow-back books. The court was sympathetic and the quartet was discharged with instructions to get out of town immediately.”

Chad's Take: Where did all the interesting characters go?

I really wish that I had been around during the days when traveling hoboes, gypsies, and fortunetellers paid regular visits to the Chippewa Valley. I really admire those who make the conscious decision to live the nomadic lifestyle, a way of life that has all but disappeared in modern day America.

Since hobos never spent more than a few days in any one town before moving on, they could have just as easily been treated as tourists instead of vagrants.

Now I may be a bit biased as I have always had the utmost respect for the continuous traveler. In fact, when I was in grade school, I actually dressed up as a hobo for Halloween – my costume was complete with dirty cheeks, ratty clothes, and a bright red knapsack hanging on the end of a long stick. Luckily this was during a time when it was socially acceptable to dress up as a hobo, so I did not have a local court of law looking to kick me out of town. 

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