Hobo Party

I have not told this story before to avoid offending anyone. With the passage of time conditions have changed and those whom it might hurt are on longer with us.

It was in the late 1950’s and my wife and I were teaching at Fayette County High. We were very young and had taken a great interest in the students, including their extra curricular activities. My wife Joan was the sponsor of the school’s newspaper, “Tiger's Roar”. I had been involved helping them produce pictures in their mimeographed school paper and considered myself part of their Journalism Club.

The Journalism Club was made-up of those students participating in publishing the school newspaper. This was a very special group of students; all were very intelligent, energetic, and conscientious.

The group decided to have a “hobo party”. They would dress as hobos and have a wiener roast. The V.F.W. Club was located on Georgia Highway 85 south at Sam’s Lake. They had not used their building for some time. It had a large barbecue pit outback and seemed to be a perfect place for the party.

Permission was granted for us to use the V.F.W. Club building not knowing what we would find. With a couple of the club leaders, Joan, and I went to the V.F.W. Club building the afternoon before the party to make plans. What we saw was quite a surprise!

The Ku Klux Klan had occupied the building apparently without the knowledge of the leaders of the V.F.W. Club. The walls were decorated with their symbols and pledges. There was also a large framed list of the membership with the local leaders. I knew many of the members. Some were outstanding members of the community. This was a time when great change was occurring in our social lives and the Klan had made a resurgence.

Now what were we to do at this late date! The students had made big plans and would be disappointed. We decided that since this was a hobo party we would paper the walls with newspaper covering up all of the Klan’s decorations. Many of the activities would be outside anyway. We also made a pact with the students with us that we would never discuss what we had seen, not even with other students and we assume they never did.

The party was an outstanding success. Afterward the same students who decorated volunteered to do the clean up.

Time changes ALL things.