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Transcript of Ellery Johnsen
Off to Chicago?
To Where Will the Servants Go?
Junius had said tramping was for people with nothing to lose and nowhere to call home. And that, thought Frances, meant her.
Now that Mr. Barrow has passed, and the house has been seized, the servants of the house have yet to figure out where they will live. Gordon and Mrs. Bailey had planned to find a post where they can work together. Bridget plans to save some money to return to Ireland, and Mary is going to return home to her mother, who is at home with seven children to take care of. Junius, however, plans to ride the rails as a hobo.
After hearing Junius's plans for the future, Frances decides that she would like to become a hobo as well. The servants, however, feel that this idea is preposterous. Frances has a home to go to, and riding the rails is no place for a lady like her. Frances is hurt by their words, and sets her mind to riding the rails as well, no matter what the servants say.
It's finally the day Frances will leave for Chicago, and she most definitely does not want to go. After boarding the train, she has a quick change of thought and bolts from the train to cash in her ticket. After lying to the man at the ticket window and telling him she left something behind, he insisted on buying her a cab back home. But when no one was looking, Frances jumped from the cab and ran away from the cabbie, leaving her old life behind her.
Monday, February 17, 1930
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Tragedy at Midnight
A Hobo in the Making
After running away from the cabbie, Frances's first stop was the train signal tower. She stood watching the trains and the hobos boarding them before being approached by a railroad cop, and asked what she was doing. She told them she was just watching and she moved on to 'Goldman's Clothing For Men and Boys', to buy some new clothes. She decided that since she never heard of any girls who rode the rails, it would make more sense for her to just be a boy! So she used some of the money she had left to buy new undergarments, shirt, pants, shoes, and cap. Then, finally, she cut off all her hair!
Nowhere to Call Home
On this tragic day in history, Frances Elizabeth Barrow's father has shot himself . It all started with the crash of the stock market, which was caused by the Great Depression. Mr. Barrow runs a business, which, up until this point, had been doing very well in these hard times. The Barrow's had it well off, but now that his business has gone bankrupt, Mr. Barrow decided he just can't handle it. Frances Barrow, his daughter, is now an orphan with no money and no home.
Now that Frances Barrow has no home, her father's servants have arranged for her to move to Chicago and live with her Aunt Bushnell. Frances describes that this drastic change in her life "felt all wrong." The lawyer for the bank, Mr. Fletcher, showed up at their house the day after their fathers death to discuss what will come next. The bank will seize and sell all the items in their home, Frances is to go to her Aunt's, and the servants are to leave the house by Friday. This is problematic because, the servants have no place to go. So Mr. Fletcher told the servants that they MUST leave, and Frances is told to go pack up her belongings, but no furniture, and get ready to leave for Chicago the following day.
A New Hobo Friend
Finally, Frances needed to hop a train. She made sure there were no bulls around, then hopped into the car of choice. She sat in the cab for a while in silence, but after some time she decided to play some harmonica to herself. She played a sad version of 'Amazing Grace', and to her surprise, a voice piped up and commented on her sad little tune. Frances was very startled by this new strange companion, but they came to be good friends...Frances shared her food with this new boy named Stewpot, and he nicknamed her Frankie Blue.
A Stay in the Jungle
New Hobo Friends
Frankie and Stewpot take their much needed restroom breaks before heading to a small water hole where they swam and washed off. Stewpot stripped down completely, but Frankie kept her underclothes on as to conceal her being a female. After swimming, they walked for a while before encountering five other hobos as young as themselves. Frankie was extremely surprised to find that two of the five other hobos were indeed
At the jungle, Frankie meets Tex, Blink, Vera, Happy Joe,Dot, and Red and his gang. Stewpot already knew Tex and Blink, but Frankie had never really met any other hobos before, especially girl ones. After being shown around the make-shift jungle homes, Frankie and Stewpot are sent off to go work for something to eat, so they headed out to a field, where they dug up bushels of potatoes for a man and his wife. They were rewarded with a picnic lunch and a sack of apples, potatoes, and cabbage.
A Day in the Jungle
Frankie and Stewpot returned to the jungle with their sack of food, and them and the others cooked up a stew for lunch. Red arrived with his gang, bearing a chicken for the stew. After dinner, they all shared stories by the fire, and Frankie played some songs on her Harmonica, and they all spent the night under the stars.
The Trip to Montana
After waking up from the night with their new hobo friends, Frankie comes to realize that Red and his gang stole her valuable silver possessions! Stewpot and Frankie leave the camp and head into town, where they ask for food from a bakery, a butcher, and a grocer. After getting a bite to eat, Stewpot took Frankie down to a pawnshop to buy her a knife for only a quarter. Then, they finally hopped on a train to Montana, to find that the car they jumped into was a reefer filled with oranges!
On the Road Again
Now on the train and in the reefer, Frankie and Stew help themselves to the many crates of oranges that fill the refrigerated car. Stewpot shows Frankie his whittling skills with the cigarette boxes he picked up in town, and Frankie is very impressed. Stew teaches Frankie to whittle for a while, and they all share some personal stories, etc. Frankie reads a book out loud to Stewpot, and they both fall asleep. After they jump out of the train car, they head to a friendly home, and a woman welcomes them in for food and new pants in exchange for work.
Into the Slammer
After they boarded a train to St. Louis and they got all settled in, Frankie finally decided to tell Stewpot who she really was. She told him she was a girl, and was from a wealthy family, and about her father's death. None of this was new to Stewpot, though, for he already figured as much. As they were hopping off the train, Stew and Frankie got caught by a Bull, along with many other hobos, and they spent the night in prison. The next day, they hopped another train in the right direction and headed to another town. Frankie forced Stewpot to stay in a mission with her for the night because he was becoming much sicker. Throughout these few days, Frankie is realizing that hoboing isn't as fun as it seems; she is tired, homesick, scared, and definitely hungry (pg 158). Guess she isn't having the great time she thought she would.
A Buddy to Remember
As Stewpot's condition is worsening, Frankie becomes more and more determined to make it to the Rocky Mountains. They hop a train to North Dakota and stop to buy food, clothing, blankets, and medicine for Stew. On the train int he middle of the night, Stew awakens multiple times shivering, then sweating, and having horrible coughing fits, obviously very ill. Frankie does what she can to keep him as comfortable and healthy as possible, giving him medicine and blankets to keep warm. When they finally make it to the Rocky's, they are not disappointed. It was everything they'd hoped it to be. They stop at a town to go visit a Hooverville, and Frankie was greatly let down. But Stew is in such poor condition that Frankie is having to drag him to the Hooverville, where only one man offers his help. The man was previously studying to be a doctor, and he came to the conclusion that Stewpot has pnemonia. Just as Frankie is about to take Stew to the hospital, he dies in her arms. Tragic.
Back to Chicago
The man and Frankie bury Stew, and now that Frankie is all alone, she spends her remaining money on a train back to Chicago, and she has just enough. She walks a few miles from the train station all the way to her aunt's house. When she arrives, she notices in particular a small cat etched into her aunt's house, and she knows that her aunt must be kind to hobos. Frankie steps up and knocks on the door, and thats where the book ends. (Not a very good ending if you ask me)
Hobo Slang of the Day
The Hobo Dictionary
Words of the Day:
"Big Chi" ; noun - Chicago
"Flophouse" ; noun - A Mission, a place for hobos to stay in return for work
"Frill" ; noun - a girl