September 6, 1908
The Wandering Office Boy.
Once there was an office boy, unlike the general run of office boys in that he sometimes had an original idea. He worked for The Journal, until he got one of the ideas. That was to the effect that he was destined to be a great explorer and write things like Frank Carpenter and Theodore Roosevelt -- or, at least, like Mr. Roosevelt's going to write.
So it was a traveling bug that bit Sam one sunny spring day. He said nothing, but pocketed his week's pay and hit the grit. He came back a few days ago with the story of his adventures all written out, just as Mr. Carpenter or Mr. Roosevelt would have done under similar conditions. Entering the local room, where a tardy reporter sat welting the daylights out of his typewriter, Sam said: "Well, the wandering Jew's back."
Sam is the son of Rabbi Max Lieberman of this city. He is 13 years old and small for his years but wise, far, oh, far indeed, beyond them. This is his story, just as he turned it it:
Just as soon as the weather got warm last spring, I got the fever that thousands of other boys get, and that was to "Run away." I had no reason on earth to go, but as I said, the fever was in me and I wanted to go. I wanted to get out and live on my own hook. About June 1st I picked up a magazine containing a story how a man beat it on a blind baggage (a small platform between the engine and baggage car), and I got the facts down pat, and by June the 3rd I was on the blind of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul bound for Chicago.
The engineer saw me get on but did not say anything. When the train would come up to a station I would duck down on the step on the opposite side of the station and as the steps were high and I was small I had no trouble at stopping places the ducking down business lasted until I got to Chillicothe, Mo. There was a bunch of young farm boys standing on the side I was ducking down and they saw me. When the train stopped they ran up to me and wanted to know where I was going and where I come from and ect. When the train was about to start the engineer asked them to hold me until the train started. The boys held me and when the train was going pretty fast they let go of me. The Idea of being stuck in a little town lent wings to my feet and I hiked. I never ran so fast in my life; as the train struck the upgrade it slowed up and I caught the second blind. At the next stopping place I got on the first blind. The engineer then turned a hose on me but I braced against the tender where 7,000 gallons or the capacity is printed and the water passed over me. Towards evening I was so hungry and thirsty that I thought I would die. After a while I was so thirsty that I thought I would ask the engineer for a drink. I thought the worst he could do was to put me off and I was desperate so I clumb over the tender into the cab. When the engineer saw me he said: "Kid I admire your nerve, but you will have to get out of the cab." I asked him for a drink and the fireman gave me one from a kerosene can; then I went back to the blind.
That evening I took a boat for Milwaukee where I arrived next morning. I struck a job and worked a week. I would have worked longer but the factory inspector said I was too young to work. I got 5 dollars which went for board and some clothes.
I still had $3.50 left so I bought a ticket to Ludington, Michigan on the Pere Marquette Steamship Co. The ticket cost me half a dollar which left me three plunks. Next morning I was in Ludington and I was about dead broke before I struck a job. The job was to clean lanterns at 2 1/2 cents a piece. I made about a dollar and decided to quit the place for a bigger city. That night I was on a freight bound for Saginaw Mich, where I arrived 11 a. m. next morning cold and hungry.
I got lunch and started out to hunt for a job. I met a kid who had two shine boxes and rented one and I went down to the depot and as I could lick every boot black around I run them all away and soon I had quite a bunch of shines and as shines are ten cents in Saginaw I made about $2.00 the first day. When I left Saginaw a couple of days after I had a ticket to Detroit and 5 dollars in real money. I arrived at Detroit around 3 A. M. and I ate breakfast in the depot and struck out for a job. After a while I decided to carry grips and just my luck a bunch of girls from Ann Harbour wanted somebody to guide them around so I got the job. I didn't know a thing about Detroit but when they were looking in windows I would ask the cop and he would tell me where to go. I piloted the girls around all morning and finally I took them back to the depot where I left them with six bits (75 cents) to the good. I got odd jobs such as carry grips and ect until evening then I went to Bell Isle park. The next day I carried grips and sold papers and made about $1.50. I bought a ticket for Buffalo which cost $1.75 by boat and next morning I was in Buffalo with about $4 in my pocket. I took a car for Niagara Falls but came back in an hour. I stayed in Buffalo about 2 days and then went to Crystal Beach, Ont., where I struck a job and held it all the while.
When the campers of Crystal Beach heard that I come from Kansas City they all wanted to talk to me and I soon became quite popular, with the girls especially. I told them all about the ranch and how the Mexicans rustle and how they hold up teams and everything I could pick up from some old Wild West stories. I told them all about things which happened about 25 years ago. Talk about stringing. Why I told them everything I could make up and they swallowed it all.
The 5th day I was there I received an invitation for an old fashioned Corn Roast, which consists of all the Kisses you want and corn on the cob as dessert. Some Kenucks (Canadians) say that it is all the corn you want and Kisses as a dessert. Gee, I got so many Kisses I thought opposite.
Talk about Canadian girls being timid.
When a kid chooses a girl in a pillow game all the girls holler, "Don't forget me!" I like to see any K. C. girl be so anxious for a kiss.
Say how about fishing? Gee! Bass is so plentiful there that all you have to do is drop your line and play them. I caught a fish 2 feet long.
Say Kansas Cityans you ought to rejoice. Talk about blue laws in Canada! Hully Gee! You can't breathe on Sunday without the cops looking at you as if they were going to pinch you for swiping $6,000. Judge Wallace ought to be there. I bet two bit to a cent that he would find the laws blue enough there to suit him. Gosh! If Kansas City had the same blue laws 95 per cent of the people would drown themselves in the Missouri while the rest except Judge Wallace in the Blue. Behold Judge Wallace you could then put your blue laws in effect as far as you want.
Say if Judge Wallace wants a job where he can put his blue laws in effect all he has to do is let me know. I know the head guy of Bertle township and I will use my influence and I might get him a job.
I revisited the falls again with a bunch of boys and took in the cave of the winds which is a dollar (the cost of rubber outfit) thrown to the bass by we suckers. All you do is walk down a spiral set of stairs about 170 feet then walk out on a little bridge about a foot and a half wide and view the falls. It certainly is a grand sight and then the bridge twists and turns and finally you walk under the falls where you try to look through the water, then you walk out on land and then comes the job. You are all soaked and the oil skins weigh a ton, then you got to walk up those stairs. Hully Gee! You are just ready to croak when you reach the top. That evening I took the train Home in a chair car with a real ticket, and if there is any difference between a box car and a chair car it's about 100,000,000,000 per cent.