Echos of the Past...
It appears the stock market is in the plunge mode. I certainly hope it doesn't drop too much but who knows. Reading about it caused me to think of something that happened to me when I was 13 years old.
I started riding freight trains when I was 13 for reasons I won't go into at this time. What happens here is just a chapter in my book of Hoboing. I may have told this one before but reading it again today in my life story, Jim's Journal, made me want to post it again. I hope you enjoy it.
"...I met a lot of Hobos at this Hobo Jungle (the one at Colton, Ca.) and each of them had a story to tell. One told me he was on the run from the law back east somewhere but didn’t tell me what he was accused of. It scared me a little and I remember hoping it wasn’t murder.
Another had left an unhappy family life. He had a wife and a couple of kids back home. He said he had gone back sometime ago but he and his wife could see that everyone would be happier with him gone. He hadn’t seen them for over two years and he swore that they all were happier and better off with him on the road than if he were at home. I asked him how they managed to live and he said his wife had a better paying job than he had had. Now I wonder if that may have been part of the problem.
One was a man who looked to be 70 years old at least and had a pure white beard that reached down below his belt. He said he was from New York City where he had been a banker and stockbroker. He told me about his education in some kind of business management and finance and that he had done very well for himself. He said that when he reached his forties, his holdings were up in the millions and the future looked extremely bright for him.
Then, in 1929, the stock market crashed and in a matter of days, he was penniless. He lost his stocks and there was a run on the bank and he, like millions of other people, panicked. His office was on the 6th or 7th floor of the building and on the day when he realized that his job and his life had no future financially, he said he walked to the window of that office and looked down at the street several times. He said the urge to jump was almost overpowering. His world seemed to be already at an end.
Then something happened. A realization come over him that his past life no longer existed and it was time to start another one. He decided that he would never again worry about money or anything it could buy. Then he walked to the train yard, asked someone there which of the trains was going west and got on it and headed for, Anywhere West, USA, and has never looked back. He said he was doing very well and was happier than he had been in his previous life of high finance and high living.
That was twenty years ago from when I talked to him in 1949 and he had been on the road ever since. He said he had never had a job since and never needed one."