Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move during the Great Depression

By Errol Lincoln Uys | Go to book overview

Charley Bull 1930

Charley Bull was a high school student when he came face to face with the Depression in 1930. Overwhelmed by debt, the owner of a gas station where Charley worked part-time shot himself. Charley rode the rails for two and a half years in search of a job, working on farms, in tramp steamers, as a cub reporter at the Toronto Daily News, and as a barker and waiter at the Chicago World's Fair. At the World's Fair, be met the chancellor of Lincoln Memorial University in East Tennessee, who gave him a chance to work his way through college.

From 1939 to 1941, Charley was an education adviser in the CCC. After Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the army, serving in the Pacific and in Europe and becoming an army reporter. At the end of the war, he spent several years as a teacher in civilian life before returning to work for the army in 1951. He served at home and in Europe, Korea, and Vietnam until his retirement in 1973. He has since been active in the Huntsville, Alabama, chapter of Veterans for Peace.

Here's how my day went in my senior year at Burbank High in 1929. My alarm clock would wake me at 4:30 A.M. I made myself breakfast, grabbed my schoolbooks, and walked a mile to my job at the gas station. I worked there until Hal Blackwell arrived at 8:30 A.M., when I left and ran a mile to school. During the noon hour I worked in the cafeteria for my midday meal.

After school I hurried on down to a drugstore and jerked sodas

-246-

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Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move during the Great Depression
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 9
  • Introduction 11
  • Catching Out 45
  • John Fawcett 1936 67
  • Arvel Pearson 1930-42 82
  • Phoebe Eaton Dehart 1938 90
  • Hard Travelin' 99
  • René Champion 1937-41 122
  • Clarence Lee 1929-31 131
  • Tiny Boland 1934 138
  • About the Photographs 144
  • Hitting the Stem 145
  • James San Jule 1930-32 185
  • Jan Van Heé 1937-38 191
  • Clydia Williams 1932-35 201
  • The Way Out 207
  • Charley Bull 1930 246
  • Jim Mitchell 1933 255
  • Robert Symmonds 1934-42 264
  • References 271
  • Acknowledgments 289
  • Index 291
  • About the Author 303
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