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Tramps and Hobos
  1. Charlie Chaplin : New Book: Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp in America, –77
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  3. Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp in America, 1947-77

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  • Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp in America, 1947-77.
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This they do, graciously, and every couple of minutes a citizen snaps a selfie, or gets a portrait made with royalty. Folks come and go, but one man hovers a few feet away for a while and watches it all with interest. He looks a little like Tuck, especially around the eyes, about the same age, but rounder, without the hollows in his cheeks.

Cautiously, he steps forward.

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  5. Tuck stands and says nothing and takes the man in his arms and everyone around the bench dissolves into tears. They hold each other a long time. The lights on the rides are coming on, and the last thing I see on the midway is a happy kid, maybe 9 years old, running past us with a souvenir dreamcatcher as big as a manhole cover. He is lean and windburned, red-cheeked and gray-bearded.

    His father chased him out of the house. He was always in dutch back then, and the name stuck. Or riding the porch of a grainer anywhere in between. The boxcar is a fixture in the Britt jungle, permanent. Long off the main line and set here years ago, it is a meeting place and a memorial, an antique keepsake and a hideout.

    Dutch sits with his gear at the north end of the car.


    Charlie Chaplin : New Book: Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp in America, –77

    Everything he owns fits in a knapsack. Heaviest thing he carries are his memories. Folks come and go, talking. The Dutchman is a focused listener. Intense, even at rest. For insight into this next generation of gutter punks and crusties and dirty kids, the postmodern hobos, search out the stunning photography of Mike Brodie. Dutch is one of the motive forces of the Bo-lympics, an proof skills and athletic competition among newly minted hobos.

    He even did a TV interview up in the boxcar this year.


    Every culture has its seekers and its pilgrims, its mystic beggars and holy wanderers, its ascetic prophets and barefoot madmen, its itinerant poets and singers. And some of this metaphysical shine rubs off on the hobo, who may or may not be looking for enlightenment. Those holy men want you to get rid of things to free yourself from wanting. To give away everything is to pass out of this world, or into heaven, untroubled. A point made one way or another at hobo church on Sunday morning by the fire. But then why is every hobo song so sad? Tuck and his brother are huddled up on a couple of patio chairs near the pavilion.

    Five thousand years of wandering and it turns out the real wilderness is inside us. Empty your pockets. Empty your heart. Because here we are.

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    Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp in America, 1947-77

    Photo of the Day. Video Ingenuity Awards. Smithsonian Channel. Video Contest. Games Daily Sudoku. Universal Crossword. Daily Word Search. Mah Jong Quest. Subscribe Top Menu Current Issue. Apollo 50 Shop. Smithsonian Magazine. With her walking stick, "Connecticut Shorty" Moylan, crowned Hobo Queen in , wears a jacket from her travels.

    Moylan is the daughter of a Connecticut Slim, a famous hobo from the steam train era. Alyssa Schukar. King Tuck, chosen as Hobo monarch in and , who today is 58, began his odyssey in , leaving home in his 20s to ride the rails. He has a steam train tattoo on his right arm. Malone was crowned Hobo Queen in , and she sports a vest stitched with a patchwork of mementos of her travels. Dutch, 60, says nowhere is home. He was crowned the Hobo King and has been riding trains since he was 10 years old.

    Comment on this Story. Last Name. We have a dedicated site for Germany. She specializes in 20 th Century British and American literature and silent film comedy. The ways in which Chaplin was identified between and —a time of living memory for some—underpin how the artist and his Tramp are interpreted today and will be in the future.

    Her book is thorough, impeccably researched, and accessibly written. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Publishing With Us.