Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


May 2, 2014

Everyone has a story


When they got to Kansas City, though, they weren’t allowed off the train. There weren’t enough jobs for the people there, much less these guys jumping trains. Instead, the two men rode the rails across the country, getting off when they thought they could find work. Often times, they worked for meals to keep themselves from starving.

The only clothes they had were on their backs, and Ray said his coat was his blanket. When he slept on top of the box cars, he laid on his stomach with his head on his hands because it was so bumpy.

Sometimes he found other places to sleep. Once it was in the doorway of a building to keep warm. That time police showed up and told him and his friend to move on. But then the cop told them they could sleep in the jail overnight and have a warm breakfast in the morning. They couldn’t pass that up.

Other times they slept in train yards. He remembered a time in Lincoln, Nebraska, when a policeman came with a flashlight, a .38 revolver and a garden hose he used as a whip. They later learned the train cars there had been broken into and police thought they were responsible.

Ray recalled another time he tore his only pair of pants while jumping a train. When he reached town, he stopped at a home and asked for a needle and a thread. The lady of the house was kind enough to give him that plus a jelly bread sandwich.

“I told Ray I thought his hoboing life was a hard life,” my grandmother wrote. “He said ‘it was like going to college, only harder.’”

The story had a happy ending, though. Ray finally found a job at Sunbeam working for 25 cents an hour. He rode a bicycle eight miles to and from work. But it sure beat hopping trains.

The moral of this column is that even ordinary people often have extraordinary stories to tell. So next time you have the opportunity to speak with someone new, give them a chance to really tell you about themselves.

You may find the kind of golden nugget that my grandma was so good at digging up.

—Lindsey Ziliak

[friday] editor / still learning from Grandma

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Rethinking pot edibles MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Move over, pot brownies.The proliferation of marijuana edibles for both medical and recreational purposes is giving rise to a cottage industry of baked goods, candies, infused oils, cookbooks and classes that promises a slow bu

    July 22, 2014

  • Marques Bunn Kokomo native returning for hometown comedy show A comedian who grew up in Kokomo is back in his hometown performing all weekend – his second time here this year.Marques Bunn opens for longtime friend and fellow comedian Troy Davis at Laugh House Kokomo downtown. There are shows at 8 p.m. today and

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • This week's best bets 1) Rockin' in the park Stray Cat, Lee Rocker and Band performs a free show Saturday night at Foster Park, so don't miss it. The show goes from 7 to 10:30 p.m. and features special guests Tony Funk and the Homewreckers. Lee Rocker made his mark singin

    July 18, 2014

  • Editor's Picks 1) The Nutcracker Show Ron White performs his Nutcracker show at Honeywell Center in Wabash Saturday night. Ron “Tater Salad” White first rose to fame as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Now, as a chart-t

    July 18, 2014

  • Ziliak, Lindsey Searching for my lovable goof He busted a move on the dance floor while wearing a woman’s straw hat, and I couldn’t help but chuckle. They say that girls want to marry men like their fathers. For years, I swore that wasn’t true. Then one day I realized it actually was. That means

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Picks 1) Everyone's favorite ogre Footlite Musicals in Indianapolis presents Shrek the Musical at 8 p.m. today and Saturday at 1847 N. Alabama St. The musical, based on the Oscar winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of ev

    July 11, 2014

  • This week's best bets 1) Fair Entertainment Check out local acts Shiny Penny, Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel and The Time Travelers at the Howard County 4-H Fair throughout the weekend. Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel and The Time Travelers take the stage tonight, with Mik

    July 11, 2014

  • NWS - duckderby 33 Rubber ducks are back at Kokomo Beach On Thursday 2,000 tiny, rubber ducks will race down the lazy river at Kokomo Beach to raise money for an organization that may be one of Kokomo’s best-kept secrets. Jamey Henderson said there are still many people who don’t know what Samaritan Caregi

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Trapeze Flying high at the circus

    Carson Gerber takes a less-than-graceful turn on the trapeze.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • This week's best bets 1) Live music downtown Bands will perform live at Foster Park all weekend as part of the Haynes Apperson Festival, celebrating Kokomo's heritage. Crowd favorite Here Come the Mummies perform tonight with special guest 26 West. Bands take the stage at

    July 4, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller