I Got My Bindle Packed

I’ll be away for a couple days to visit family, and also to look into a possible part-time programming contract. I really need the work, so please send your prayers my way. Or, if you prefer, send your positive karmic vibrations on the astral plane. Whatever works!

There will be no news feed until I get back.

Dymphna will be in charge while I’m gone. Actually, she’s in charge all the time; it’s just more obvious when I’m not here. Just practice saying “yes, ma’am” and you’ll be OK. It works for me.

4 thoughts on “I Got My Bindle Packed

  1. I only just now saw this picture the Baron put up. It brought back memories of stories I’d heard about the hard times during the Depression – obviously this is from that era.

    A friend’s grandfather had spent time as a “hobo” – back when that didn’t signify the mentally ill or other misfits. Just fellows who’d dropped through the cracks during the Great Depression, when the unemployment rate was 25% – more in some places, and always higher among blacks.

    Those were hard, hard times. While using the Calvert School curriculum for homeschooling, our son was given a journal from the Depression for an analysis and eventual book report. The book had been written during the cross-country journeys of a homeless, jobless young man. The lack of food on the road, the lack of it in the towns they went through, was hard for the future Baron to grasp. At times the story made him mad as he struggled to understand what real hopelessness involved.

    Why couldn’t that fellow ask_______for help? Fill in the blank: church, neighbors, family, etc. They didn’t *have* anything to give?? Not possible.

    Remember that when the he read the book, our family was officially below an arbitrary “poverty line” (during the Baron’s landscape painting days). I didn’t tell the fB that WE were poor since it would have clouded the issue even more, given his own experience as a poor person who had no idea he was poor.

    The Baron’s ability to take him on a few days’ camping adventure (a disguised painting trip) for only the cost of gas (the food they’d have eaten at home anyway) gave him the memory of great vacations; my ability to find excellent used clothing at the thrift shop of a ritzy church in town provided him with a good wardrobe – not that he’d have noticed, but he had somehow internalized poverty to mean patched clothes and no shoes or coat. He wore Land’s End & LL Bean clothing, though labels meant nothing to him at that age. They still don’t.

    I showed the fB many pictures like the one above, and as I read that hobo’s journal, I finally *realized* how desperate those days must have been. No wonder my friend’s grandfather looked so very old compared to other kids’ grandpops…

    I’ve often wondered if America’s entry into WWII was partly due to our dire economy. FDR’s statist approach didn’t improve things at all. Nothing like munitions factories to get the country moving again.

  2. The Depression hit pretty hard here too. I remember reading a story written by a ‘down and outer’ or ‘swaggie’ as some were called. The government demanded that unemployed men should seek work which invariably caused them to hit the road in those towns that had no work on the promise of some ‘dole’ money that was handed out once in every while, they had to keep moving from town to town to show they were seeking work where there was no actual work to be had in most of them.

    But at least the miserly ‘dole’ money kept them and their families they left behind alive. Many ‘down and outers’ would end up on the freight and water trains to Broken Hill, a remote mining town in western New South Wales, just to show the authorities that they were actually moving around. Of course they had no money for a fare so ‘hitched’ a ride when the guard wasn’t looking and hid under the tarpaulins of the four wheel wagons that were then in wide use.

    On arrival and after reporting in to the authorities to record their arrival, they would then head out to a place called ‘Chateau de tar drum’ which was basically a squatters camp full of cut up empty tar drums turned into ‘salubrious accommodation’ as some described it.

    Can you imagine living in a tar drum?

    The police would often raid the Chateau whenever the crime rate began to creep up in town and send the occupants on their way, and so it would be back on the next freight train to the nearest town.

    Must have been a tough life!

    • Yeah, in a hard rain a tar drum probably beats a cardboard appliance box. But the smell…my friend’s grandfather was a pleasant man but deeply sad, even I could tell that.

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