Arvel Pearson

You leave home with good intentions and tell your folks you're going to come back a millionaire. You return with your head between your arms.You're broke and dirty and they see right away that you didn't make it. I'd stay a day or two and hit the road again.
I was never so desperate that I wanted to commit suicide but I often felt put down. I realized it would take a while to change things. "I'm going to keep going," I said. "I may not end up a millionaire but someday I will be able to face people I used to beg for food." If I hadn't had hope I would have starved to death by the time I was seventeen.

There were nights I'd get homesick waiting for a train with nobody to talk to, sitting alone on a pile of ties under a water tank out in the middle of nowhere. You're only a kid and you get to dreaming about that warm bed back home and seeing the folks.

Arvel Pearson, quoted in Errol Lincoln Uys, Riding the Rails, 85, 88

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