THE BOXCAR BOYS AND GIRLS
The story of 250,000 teenagers on the road in the Great Depression is one of the vital sagas of America in the 1930s. These archives derive from 3,000 letters written by men and women who rode the rails between 1929 and 1941; follow-up questionnaires and interviews complete a rare first-hand account of Americans living through one of this nation’s bleakest eras.
I rode the boxcars in the summers of 1932-35. With the exception of 1935, they were round trips in the West back to Williston, North Dakota.On July 4, 1935, I left home via the side-door Pullmans to Seattle and then north to Alaska via steamship where I stayed for 25 years.On occasion I see a blurb about riding the rails that doesn't tell the real story. Many was the time we were in a siding going West when an eastbound train passed. Like us, there would be 100 to 150 people aboard, including entire families on the move looking for work.We were the exception since we were high school kids out on a lark. During the drought and depression years, we could only find work in the harvest fields; thus our travels in June-July to the middle of August.In 1932, being real short of money we had one heck of a time getting something to eat. Homes close to the railroad yards were hit pretty heavy. We worked for food. We ate from gardens and orchards. After a fast of 24 hours, we even paid money for a stack of hot cakes and coffee (15C.)I don’t recall if it was 1933 or possibly 1934 when the government set up transient camps in the big cities to help feed and house the thousands of people riding the rails.
Jack was riding in boxcars to Alaska with many other families to look for work. He had trouble finding a job and being able to get something to eat. Government then set up camps to help people in need like Jack Jeffery.
I chose this song because it really describes the hardships of the Great Depression.