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Riding the Rails Essay

The Great depression caused time for everybody, but I think it was especially difficult for men since they were the ones responsible for making the money for food and thing for the families. This forced many of them to leave their homes in search of work, most just ride the railroads in search of work. These men were dubbed the “Hobos”. Riding the rails was also dangerous. Some left to troubled families, other because it seemed a great adventure. More than two million men, teenage runaways, and hobos were living on the road in America. Most of the people that ride the rails were and teen runaways. Jobs that existed for decades were simply not available anymore, and teenagers and men were forced to go searching for work far away in order to feed their families at home.

In the 1930s, more than 250,000 teens were riding the rails, traveling illegally from town to town in search of adventure, and a food. One story that I read about riding the rails was about a guy named Henry Koczar, from East Chicago. He was 19 years old when he left his family. Being part of a big family makes hard on his parents to put food on the table every day. Henry wanted only for his family to have it a little bit easier and felt he was old enough now to start working on his own. So in September of 1932 he took off on a train in hopes of lighten the trouble on his family.

Now not all of the hobos were out of high school and ready for work. Some of them were just kids when they started life on their own. Most of these stories don’t really have too much sadness in them but it was tough on them all no matter what the location. Once they got out there they found work wasn’t as available as they’d hoped it would be. Some towns didn’t even want them around at all and they were actually and in words forced out of them. So the sound of seeing the world had a whole new meaning once they were in it.


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