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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, March 17, 1915, NOON EDITION, Image 15

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1915-03-17/ed-1/seq-15/

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THE ARMY OF
DESPAIR
BY FRED ISLER,
Teamster and Sec'y Hoboes' Union.
THE HOBOES' UNION. On Mil
waukee av. some of the unemployed
have united and formed an organiza-
jlon known as the "Hoboes union.
A eenerous-hearted woman has eiven
them permission to use the premises
during the course of the winter. A
large roomy storeroom is located on
the ground floor. Chairs, bookcases,
adesk, piano chairs and two stoves
complete the furnishing of the place.
"Beneath the main floor part of si. large
ellar has been transformed into a
tchen. Odds and ends of lumber
nd sheet-iron plates and the genius
if unemployed carpenters make the
itchen possible. The men do 'their
own cooking and washing. A com
mittee sees to it that the premises are
kept clean. Order is maintained by
the same committee. The men are of
the average type of workingmen,
clean in their habits, industrious and
well-behaved. - A sign on the black
board reading, "No person under the
influence of liquor allowed in this
place," shows conclusively that
chronic drunks are not welcome. The
main item of conversation is gener
ally the question of getting a job.
There is not a shadow of a doubt
that in order to get work those men
will do anything humanly possible,
even "beat it" hundreds of miles.
Their past occupations are- varied.
Here are a few taken at random:
Railroad fireman, glassworker, core-
maker, bellboy, machinist, painter,
jarpenter, shipping clerk, butcher,
flrook, laborers and teamsters. All
seem to be anxious to return to work
at their trade.
.One of the" men is a product of
Chicago. Most of his life has been
spent here. He is a teamster by oc
cupatiqn and is capable of doing a
day's work with the next one. Until
last fall he was steadily employed
and was then laid off. Since then,
morning after morning he has made
the round of the barns. But teamsters
are plentiful and jobs scarce, so the
probabilities are that he "will have to
wait until spring for a job.
By the window, busily engaged in
drawing crayon pictures that would
do credit to a professional artist, sits
a tall, slim, intelligent-looking man.
He came to Chicago some time ago
and so far has failed to land a job.
However, he is not discouraged and
expects to get one sooner or later.
Several are watching the efforts of
the "artist" and appear to be inter
ested in the work of their brother in
misery. Qne in particular, an ex
glassworker, whose eyesight has
been injured by the effects of glass
blowing and who, as he states it him
self, prefers farm and garden work
to any other, is waiting for the time
when his services will be needed by
some farmer.
Down in the kitchen a railroad fire
man, who was laid off when the rail
roads reduced their working force,
is busily engaged in cooking a stew.
A-inachinist is peeling spuds, a butch
er cleaning vegetables and a bellboy
is "beginning to set the table. Pretty
soon the life-saving "mulligan" will
be ready and the crowd of hungry
men will appease their hunger.
These men are not bums. Under
the circumstances they try to make
the most of themselves. All they
want is a chance to work, do some
thing, be useful and not depend upon
charity. Like other human beings
they want some of the comforts of
life, decent clothing, a home, and
they are willing to work for these
things. Will society give them an op
portunity before it is too late?
(Next "Picking Butts.")
o o
A PRIZE SURPRISE
Houseman If I'd known you were
going to drop in on us so unexpected
ly we would have had a betteroinner.
Horton Don't mention it, old man,
but next time I'll be sure to let you
know. Detroit Free Pressi

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