Letters to the Editor

Help strangers? Hell, no!

In his Sept. 3 “No work, no food” letter , 1930s-born Verlin Perry makes a keenly accurate distinction between the then Great Depression Era “hobos,” “bums” and homelessness.

Whether bums (who “didn’t travel much”) or hobos (who “hopped freight trains”), both merely knocked on unlocked doors and “offered to work for a meal.” Neither “begged for money.” Given Mr. Perry’s 200-word limitation, here’s the rest of the story from my quasi-nonagenarian viewpoint, given my 200-word limitation.

Presumably, rather than apply for government assistance, in addition to families like theirs, and ours, the Perry family “did all kinds of farm work…” That same farm work (and era), in addition to sustaining us physically and financially, it safe-guarded us morally and socially. How?

▪ our a.m. risings and parental restraints ensured we had no time or inclination to join gangs.

▪ Juvenile halls or penitentiaries weren’t overwhelmed with government-subsidized patrons.

▪ Security doors and windows were needless.

▪ Scant police and insurance protection sufficed.

▪ Security guards were non-existent.

Regardless of distinction or gender, dare we, in today’s violent society, freely offer work to any stranger? Dare we freely open doors, leave windows or doors open or even pick up hitchhikers, hobos or bums?

Yesteryear? Yes! Today? Not on your life – hell no!

Phyllis Minnitte-Bilbo, Coarsegold

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