Saturday 03 Dec 2016

The Little Hobo
AJ Robinson

When I was a kid, Halloween was a big holiday, much more important than just about any other except many Christmases. I mean, what little kid wouldn't welcome the whole idea of getting candy free? I don't remember at what age I figured that out, but it must have been four or five.

Looking back, not many of those Halloweens stand out in my memory I was just interested in the candy and back then (late 60s and early 70s), the candy was awesome! We didn't have no stinking bite size candies; that term had yet to be invented. Oh no, we got the full-sized bars the Hershey bars, 3 Musketeers, big bags of M&Ms, Mounds, Almond Joy, which I didn't much care for, and so on.

When I was in first or second grade, I went as an astronaut; they were big back then, what with the Apollo astronauts landing on the moon. I distinctly remember visiting my teachers house; good old Mrs. Bresnahand, and she was just pleased as punch to see me decked out in that outfit. Beyond that, virtually no other costumes stand out in my memory except one.

There was the year I went as a little hobo. You see, my mom made my costume that year. She found an old black coat and baggy pants, and took them up to her sewing room. It was actually the nursery room in our house, but after I got old enough to move into a real bed, in a real room, it changed into her sewing room. After that, he'd do work for various women, in the area, making dresses, altering clothes, and so on. She took those clothes, and she sewed some brightly colored patches on the elbows of the coat, on the lapel, and then on the knees and cuffs of the pants and one big one right across the seat! Then she got me a tall hat, and she put a big patch on it too.

That night, I put on my costume, grabbed my bag and my mother applied my makeup. She got some shoe polish and smeared it across my face. Frankly, I was quite surprised my Mom letting me, helping me, get dirty. She said this would make me look like I had five o'clock shadow. I didn't understand; then she said it would make me look like daddy at the end of the day I got it grubby.

After that, it was off into the night with my friends. Yeah, back then the kids just wandered around the neighborhood and went to everyone's house for candy. This was before all the incidents of tainted candy; a much more trusting and innocent era. The other thing I remember was how much candy I got that year. As with all years, the next day, I sorted it, organized it, and decided which ones Id eat first my least favorite, and then work my way to my all-time favorites. I was also careful, I always tried to ration the candy to make it last. In a good year, it might make it to Christmas or New Years; a short year Thanksgiving.

I have no idea what became of the costume; I imagine my Mom just threw it away. After all, at that age, there was no way Id be able to wear it the next year. I kind of feel sad about that. No, strike that, I am sad about it; I wish I had that outfit today. Yeah, it'd take up space in my closet, and be totally useless to me. I'd probably be torn and tattered, and maybe even rotting, but I wouldn't care.

My Mom made it for me, and that's all the reason Id need to keep it always.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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