I was talking to a friend the other night about the hours and hours my family has spent sitting at intersections, waiting for trains to go by. We only lived about half a block from the tracks, so this was virtually a daily occurrence. We used to watch for the little chalk pictures on the sides of the boxcars.You really had to keep your eyes open if you didn't want to miss them. My favorite was Bozo Texino, in fact, I called them "Bozos," and from looking around the internet, it looks like I wasn't the only one that really liked him. In fact, you can even get a hat with his picture on it.
I think you may have to click on the Watch on YouTube, but that's not really too hard to do. For some reason, there doesn't seem to be a "Hobo Markings on Trains 1" video. This bothers me.
Nowadays, I rarely get stopped by a train, unless I am trying to get to vigil Mass for a Holy Day, but even on the infrequent occasions when I do, I never see any of these little chalk images. They've been replaced by the same large, gaudy, spray-painted words and symbols that you see everywhere. I suppose that before too long they will pass from living memory. Even 20 years ago when I used to see at least one on every train, I hardly ever found anyone else that noticed them, and the one person that was really familiar with them worked in the train yard.
I really need to get myself one of those hats.