Hobo.  That word is normally a noun.  A person who has no place to live and no money and who travels to many different places.  That’s straight from Webster’s.  Not necessarily a good connotation although I usually think of a kind older man, warmly kind, who’s down on his luck.  Emmett Kelly.

The man introduced himself.  “They call me Hobo, “ he said.  No further explanation.  I’d seen him inside the store.  Well dressed.  Nice van.  Turns out it was well travelled, but freshly painted.

He was no bum.  Nor vagabond.  He stopped to talk because I was carrying what looked like a giant bullet.  It was actually a five-inch shell from a Naval gun.  Not loaded!  He said it looked interesting and I told him what it was and he began to talk about antiques.  We were outside the antique mall after all, and he was also a vendor. 

He told me he used to sell big items but had gone to mainly gold and silver jewelry now.  Much easier to carry than a chest of drawers, or big bullet.  I found out that he was in his 60’s and had been in the antique business a long time.  He had space in four different antique malls now.  And he would move his items form one to another.  Or buy things at one and put it in a different one.

The whole history of the antique market in this town came up and he told me the order in which the stores appeared.  And who was where selling what.  He seemed to have a bundle of information on prices.

I guess the bullet intrigued him enough that he wanted to see my booth.  I showed him what I called my “hobo suitcase,” a hard sided beat up old thing with rope for a handle.  Been around.  He said I couldn’t call it that because that was his name.  There were several other things there that he said he liked.  Enough to buy?  Maybe in a day or two, if its still there.  I felt good that someone liked my stuff.  And he gave credence to my pricing.

The thing about collecting stuff is that you get to find out about not just the stuff, but also the people who made it.  Or owned it.  Or collect and sell it.  People like Hobo.  I know I’ll see him again.  And I’ll find out more about well, about whatever!

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?  www.personalhistorywriter.com


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