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Hobos operated as a loose family, keeping each other fed and safe, even though most never met. Much like we Rubes and Cuddlahs. They did not want anyone else to understand and therefore sabatoge their messges, and they had to watch out for those of their tribe who could not read English, or who could not read at all.
So they developed these symbols, to denote everything from “this place is safe and warm if you are willing to listen to the Jesus speech” to “too many hobos have been through and used up this place”. They would chalk or charcoal them on underpasses or walls, or carve them into trees.
The featured image is my own quickly doodled hobo mark, because I am kind, and would feed a wanderer without giving the Jesus speech, would share our fresh water, for we have a well, and would have no problem with their camping on our mountain.
If I awaken one morning this week to Rubes camping nearby on our mountain, I brought that on, but I expect to be paid a toll in nummy gluten-free chocolates. There’s not a hobo mark for that one yet; I will create one.