16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, March 3, 1912: I don’t believe we are going to get our papers back. I wouldn’t mind knowing what some of my marks are. Perhaps not very satisfactory any way.
Had to walk home from school behind a tramp. I walked slow enough you can bet.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Sounds a little scary—
A tramp walking down a rural road—and a a teen-aged girl needing to walk the same road to get home from school.
There were lots of tramps in US in the early 1900s. Many men found it very difficult to find jobs as the country industrialized. According to Wikipedia:
In 1906, Professor Layal Shafee, after an exhaustive study, put the number of tramps in America at 500,000 (about 0.6% of the U.S. population). The article citing this figure, What Tramps Cost the Nation, was published by The New York Telegraph in 1911 and estimated the number had surged to 700,000.