...He advised me not to worry about lice. “You’ll soon get used to ‘em, not feel ‘em biting at all. All you have to do is ‘boil up’ once in a while”—that is, take off your clothes and boil them, a piece at a time, to kill the vermin. These and other personal chores the well-groomed tramp more or less regularly performs, were usually attended to during stop-overs in camps and jungles. It was here I learned to shave with the aid of a broken bit of whiskey glass. The toughest method of shaving I ever saw, though, was when one old veteran of the road rubbed another’s face with the rough side of half a brick!

-Harry Kemp (footnote to history, tramp poet, author, dune shack dweller, village bohemian, home wrecker, hanger on to giants, and purportedly a “lecherous and lazy man who committed as many wrongful acts as a man can safely commit”) from the the Federal Writers’ Project American Life Histories.

08.21. filed under: history. people. 1