Hitchhikers at Mass. Ave. and the turnpike in 1971.
Boy, does that bring back memories. Hitchikers, holding signs naming their desired destination, were a common sight at that specific spot, I'd say up until about 1978 or so.
Back in the day, 70's & 80's that was how we met girls going to Nantasket. We'd pick them up and spend the day with them. Those are great memories.
To Nantasket. Too young to drive but we were going to see the girls as well. Never realized we were getting rides only if or after the girls did, but doesn't surprise me. Makes the world go round.
Hiking home was always harder. I remember spending my busfare at the arcade and no-one would stop. Walked from the beach to Quincy Ctr. No joke.
the car handjobs stopped.
Then, the rapes and murders happened. I was a coed at BU in those days and an avid hitchhiker. A girl in my dorm was picked up on Comm. Ave. and killed. That and a few unwanted gropes ended it for me and a lot of other females.
Like, there's an girl in your car, (expletive.) That's eight shutout innings right there. Don't blow the 9th by being a creepshow right out of the gate.
While it's true that it's mostly the hitchhikers who're at risk, there are times that a driver who picks up a hitchhiker can also be at risk.
My grandparents used to tell me about how, up through the early 1960's, they'd pick up hitchhikers and take them out for breakfast or whatever. They stopped doing that in the mid-1960's, when the situation began to get bad.
My grandfather also told us a horrific story about how a friend of his picked up a hitchhiker, glanced into his rearview mirror, and, noticed that the hitchhiker who was in the back seat, had a sledgehammer and was about to hit him over the head with it. My grandfather's friend immediately put his hand on his head to protect it, and received a permanently damaged hand (permanently mashed out of shape) as a result of the hitchhiker's having hit him.
...but it has a whiff of urban legend about it. Your grandfather's "friend" couldn't see that the hitchiker had a sledgehammer with him before he let him in the car? They are rather conspicuous items.
Sledgehammers come in lots of different sizes. A 2- or 3-pounder with a handle a little over a foot long--a common size--could do quite a bit of damage to somebody. An assailant wouldn't have to use a 20lb maul with a 3-foot handle. (which would be impossible to swing in an enclosed environment like a car anyway.)
FedEx cargo Flight 705 was hijacked by a suicidal FedEx pilot who gained access to the aircraft by deadheading. He had two claw hammers and two sledge hammers with him. He attacked the pilot, copilot, and flight engineer with the hammers, causing them serious injuries that have disabled all three men from flying professionally since. (The pilots managed to disarm and restrain their assailant, and land the aircraft successfully. The hijacker is in Federal prison.)
Saw one last week on Stuart St and Charles St So. I said to the guy I was with I haven't seen anyone thumbing in twenty years.
I saw a hitchhiker last week for the first time in years. A well-dressed woman waiting at a bus stop by Tufts stuck her thumb out as I drove by.
those hoopy froods really know where their towels are.
Then people started getting picked up by Vogons and all the fun was over.
I haven't seen one in greater Boston in forever, but I see them a couple times a year in small-town Maine.
I recently moved out to the Athol/Orange area. There are quite a few out this way. I also see them in VT near the highway looking to catch a ride into Boston. They're all pretty harmless out here, thank goodness!
Brings back childhood memories of living in Cambridge in the 70's!!!
I, too did some hitchhiking myself when I was a much younger woman, in undergrad school, and got rides with some interesting people, on occasion. This is not to say that I didn't secretly worry about whether or not I'd get safely to where I was going alive and in one piece, because I did. I once got a ride with a guy who was a former car-racer. He drove through the city and into Harvard Square (where I'd requested to be dropped off) at around 50 miles an hour. It was a little bit scary, but at least someone like that knows something about how to drive a car very fast.
Another time, my sister and I got a lift from some guy who was sort of a playboy, and was into just simply driving around for the fun of driving around.
I hitchhiked afew more times, until the news of the slew of young college women who'd been picked up, killed, and had their bodies dumped by the roadside while hitchhiking, as well as a weird experience when the guy who picked me up began his conversation amiably enough, but whose talk turned to sexual overtones, plus a chewing out by my parents, all eventually deterred me from ever hitchhiking again.
Love the PanAm bag
I actually hitchhiked last autumn to Canada from the outskirts of Boston. Beat the crap out of the Greyhound I had to take back.
I hitchhike around here from time to time.
Sometimes someone stops right away (once before I even held up a sign). Sometimes it can take hours.