Shed Light

About Ed

 Making the Hobo

Born in East Pittsburg, Pennsylvania  in 1958, Ed Furlong started learning at an early age the effects of alcoholism through his father who worked in the nearby steel mills; where cold beer proffered at the local beer gardens was popular to these inferno breathing factories. They sold  brands like Iron City, Rolling Rock and Strohls. Ice cold beer was very popular back in the day, (most likely still is) with the blue collar union workers who worked these sweltering hot steel mills. Ed's father, as his work ethic was undaunted by his alcoholism, drank his libelous share of it. Ed Senior would frequently take his son along with him when he would go out drinking at the small dive bars in and around Pittsburg, that his father had an innate propensity for.   After the age of 12, and  moving to North Miami Beach Florida, when Ed’s mother divorced his father; Ed moved to his new home in Florida. Ed was more inclined to stay there than with his alcoholic father back in Pittsburg, for apparent reasons. Ed’s father was very abusive when he drank, and Ed would frequently travel back and forth between his mothers residence in North Miami Beach, and his father’s house in Pittsburg.  Edward Furlong started his early career at ‘wanderlust’ at a very early age of 15, when he bought his first used car, a 1968 Ford Mustang. He purchased it from a local gas station where he lived with his Mother.  It wasn’t long after that, though, that Ed lost his driving privileges due to his drinking and aberrant lifestyle. Ed tried holding on to jobs, that he worked around the beach, mostly in restaurants as a cook.  Ed later found out, by the ‘trial and error’ method, that it was working in restaurants that fueled his desire to drink and screw up.   Ed also found out that living this disenchanted lifestyle at the beach, and just hanging out was a precursor to remain an alcoholic. Notwithstanding, Ed’s Destiny lie before him.   Ed declared that working as a mere cook was not beneficial enough, it was a vicious cycle of hand to mouth earnings. Ed decided living on the beach was what he liked to do.  No stress or anxiety over bills other than to purchase the occasion bottle of alcohol, or a pack of roll-up tobacco. And food, well,... that came easy enough and was 3rd on Ed's priority list with alcohol and cigarettes as his first unhealthy inclination. When Ed would travel to different cities he preferred the less obvious places to lay his head at night; places like stairwells at the local Holiday Inn. Usually stairwells worked comfortably enough; and he would proclaim: “you must be at the very bottom below the first floor.“;…  Sometimes he’d figure on some other place less conspicuous to sleep; like a lofty type abode beneath a highway overpass. He‘s even been noted on a cold night, to fall into a Salvation Army clothes donation bin. These were usually found at the perimeter of the local Kmart stores.  Ed knew how to survive on the streets, quite well, and so this made it difficult for Ed to rejoin society, and stop this lifestyle and debilitating use of alcohol.  That this level of abuse would most assuredly find Ed on his way (expeditiously) to the Pearly White Gates. Whatever the case, it wore heavy on Ed, living on the edge of society.   Ed seldom took to the Hobo camps or jungles, and barely ever crawled up in a soup kitchen.   Ed didn’t like some of the things he seen at these places, and it depressed him.   Ed claims a lot of homeless people are mentally challenged and should be in a treatment home.  Ed considers other less-fortunates are mere homeless drug addicts or alcoholics without street experience.  He grins saying that these tramps stick out like a sore thumb because they work the food stamp lines at all the government hand-out centers; and most,.. not all, seek-out  handouts--void of any dignity, and certainly not conveyed to the people who they beseech, to support there addictions.  They’re not resourceful at all, and are a lazy lot, Ed would recall. By and large, Ed says they are not to be trusted.  Ed would eke out what he needed by any odd job he could find, from time to time. Little old fashion panhandling,  along the way never hurt none, either, he exclaimed, with a blush of guilt. As they say, the perils of hopping freight does wear thin on a body after time: "no peaceful night's sleep around the rail yards, no Sir."  After all, these new friends that Ed was hanging around with on the North side of Miami, at the beach, (usually under the pier away from the Florida sun, where the temperature of the wine would stay cool-enough), were men much older than Ed,...he being just barely 16. These men had similar traits to that of his father back in Pittsburg,  except no nine to five.  They all did certainly dress different from most, too, Ed exclaimed: with those funny baggy pants  that were shiny in fabric around the knees and pockets due to the lack of washing.  Holey shoes and bearded, and some with no shoes and black feet…all of them. "I’ve seen them put a hat out on a few street corner on occasion" Ed said, and sing "Hello Mary,…or is it Sue." And by that method, garnering loose coin from passer-bys while drinking mostly the cheap wine. Yup. No ‘Boone's Farm’ either, we’re talkin’ Night Train, MD 20/20,  or let Ed not forget to honor none other than Mrs. Wild Irish Rose.  She sure give you the worleys (i.e. hangover) in the mornin'.  Just contemplating his new found acquaintances with these men intrigued Ed, and his appetite to learn more about these smelly souls (Hoboes) continued unabated; for the next 20 years anyway. Ed witnessed a camaraderie amongst these men,  crosses between wino and bum that he never saw before, and there seemed to  lay the paradox, these men had a non-violent way about them but at the same time  they elicited a certain fearful respect.  Ed felt not the least bit intimidated by this enigma, and he felt complacent while in their midst. Even when they imbibed too much, of the vino, or mouthwash, or sterno,,,canned heat (squeeze), they would usually only speak in loud tongues. More bark than bite, Ed would reminisce. This didn’t bother Ed and he only entertained himself with this unique situation. This lifestyle of leisure, living  day to day, with little to no responsibility, and drinking, seemed to have its very own addictiveness; that in itself, was the insidious nature of living this way-ward life.

 

            This was to be the catalyst that enabled a life long agony of self imposed dereliction against Ed, imposed only by his lack of good judgment.  It wouldn’t be until 1996 that Ed was to see new light at the end of the tunnel, the irony, like his father before him, Ed became totally isolated from normal society and relished more in the ultra minority class of people known as wino, hobo, tramp, etc. He didn't work a nine to five like his father. He was imprisoned by his own personality and mind-set. His early role at such a young age was only to absorb the elements around him; Miami Beach Florida in the mid seventies was  a raucous time of street prostitution, drugs, robberies, you name it;…everything running a-muck. There was also the incessant immigration of the Cubans and Haitians to south Florida.  It was just an overall feeling that 'most anything goes’…and it usually did on Miami Beach.  This making  fodder for all the whole world to feed on, through such TV shows as Miami Vice, C.S.I. Miami, and so on.

  QsBPcf_Kv4M

 A Hobo documentary

 



          After a half of a life time spent doing mostly nothing noteworthy, excluding of course, the acquisition of a lengthy rap sheet;  Ed became a willing participant ‘most of the time’ when confronted with law enforcement, when he had committed the civil crime (on a daily basis) of public intoxication, Ed would usually ask the police officer before being shackled with handcuffs what the jail was serving for lunch (this usually pissed off the cop).  Rather than  protesting like most arrestees,  Hobo Ed wouldn't ask the befuddled policeman why he was going to jail, or anything at all, just remain silent. In some situations the police would not know how to handle this type of dilemma, and sometimes let Ed go. This behavior was a unique opposite of what the policeman was expecting, resistance from a combating suspect; not someone that wants a free meal. Ed termed this funny indifference on his part,  “pay not for 3 hots and a cot“. The police were there to punish or arrest an unruly suspect. But this wasn’t the case with Ed.  It created a problem with Ed‘s ‘keepers‘(jailers). Ed could care less if he went to the hoosegow, deep down Ed knew it was time to get cleaned-up or die…and jail time, just like Ed‘s dog Bocephus, was its own life saving mechanism.   Ed seemed destined to succumb like most hobos would,  either institutionalized for wet brain, jailed or imprisoned for life under the ‘Loser Act,‘or dead underneath some railroad steel.  But saved by the bell,  Ed‘s fate was re-positioned towards normalcy when he was introduced to AA, by an associate named God (dog spelled backwards),  hallelujah Ed thought! He found that AA was another type of camaraderie that he could transition to softly, at his own pace and not wind up like so many buddies or 'bos that were dying off one at a time. Alcoholic Anonymous works if you work it Ed found out. However, it wasn’t easy and after many attempts at sobriety, and  many repeated relapses, Ed finally got it.  If not in his behavior, at least with abiding by the AA fundamental principles, Ed's life got better. One AA principle was the need to acquire someone greater than himself  (a higher power  if you will),  Ed choose to call this higher power God.  To make decisions that even Ed could not make for himself, God was the answer. Ed explained later that anyone can overcome addiction with a Higher Power; and he went on to explain that a Higher Power could be anything you 

wish to make it. But he ‘inched towards’ a Higher Power of the Divine, as it is truly serious business and the deity should be one that you recognize through a ecumenical choice.

 

           Ed was jailed for the last time at "The ’Bunker" ( see story, August 5th 1995 Conway Daily Sun)Ed’s dream is to write a children’s book depicting an old hobo who can convey the misconceptions that exist with the American Hobo, through a story line moralizing the things you shouldn’t think of trying like drinking and smoking. “Don’t drink alcohol and don’t smoke cigarettes, and for ‘Pete’s sake’ don’t even think about drugs.”

 

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Living the American Dream

             It was early spring in 1997 when Ed began cooking again, this time at a local ski resort here in Bartlett, NH, and having just recently been released from a 28 day treatment center. Ed realized his quandary with this type of work relating to his alcohol abuse and associating it with working in restaurants but he didn’t really have any other options available other than to work as a cook; it was all he really knew how to do. His SSI check for $565.00 per month (for being a disabled drunk) was automatically canceled out when Ed made the decision to ’re-enter’ society upon his sisters insistence. With the help of AAhe figured he could do this; and after acquiring employment after recently being released from a 60 day jail stint and a 28 day program of recovery at the Friendship House, call it divine intervention for the Friendship House is located in none other then Bethlehem, New Hampshire. Ed knew that if he was to become a productive member of society he needed to let go of certain benefits and behaviors that he had while hoboing to achieve certain benefits and behaviors of the civilized world, as we know it. Laugh! The $565.00 a month was a sweet deal for Ed but deep down Ed knew that he must work like every other fool in society and give up the easy way out. To keep his nose clean he knew it was imperative to change his ways. This didn’t bother Ed so much as not knowing for sure that he would make it as a regular person, or as a productive member of society for a better term; without rail yards as his playground and jails as his second home to the streets; this was something new for Ed and he seemed to adapt well to it. He had ‘real time’ to heal his wounds and recoup his diminished health by the fortuity of being locked up in a jail somewhere away from the booze and the rails that was taking its toll on Ed. Incarceration gave Ed time to recuperate from the ravages of the brick (i.e., streets),…or the constant vulnerability one puts himself in every time he’d pick up a drink, and be destitute, always towards failure…but you get my point.

            Ed ladled the hot soup out and cooked  the hamburgers at the ski resort in Bartlett, NH and was terminated after 3 months for insubordination; seems like the kitchen manager felt threatened by Ed’s ‘vast knowledge’ or  his culinary expertise. Or perhaps his uncanny ability to cook circles around his manager and also other staff members. Ed, was again looking down a barrel, but this time it wasn’t a gun barrel back in some dark railroad yard, or some rookie cop's gun barrel wanting desperately to try his new ’service revolver’ out--on some poor old Bo who nobody knows; so he can get in practice for a real criminal.  Little throw down practice with this old derelict bum, nobody would be the wiser. Ed was now looking down an empty trash barrel in which lay a symbol of Ed’s life, it had no trash in it but needed something positive; all the trash that was in the barrel was hopefully discarded through his last visit to the treatment center up at the Friendship House in Bethlehem, New Hampshire where Ed now made his home. He had cleaned his house there and got rid of his trash/past and this was to be the fresh start to his new life,  Amen!  It was at this juncture that Ed reached out to his long lost sister Jeanne for help. Perhaps Ed could start his own business someday, and this could be his way...the way out from working for other people that he knew wasn’t what he wanted to do because it was not conducive to staying sober, working in restaurants where they served booze. He’d talk to his sister Jeanne about possibly leasing  a small cabin on her large commercial property to run a small snowmobile rental business.  But Ed wasn't sure, he had no experience in this field but knew there was a market.  In return for a warm place to lay his head at night, Ed struck a deal with his sister; Ed would do all the maintenance for his sister’s property needs.  Ed decided a handyman Services would work well within his community to save money the the snowmobiles he needed and started Lil’ Man Handyman Services; billing himself out at $10.00 per hour and doing general maintenance for the other citizens in Bartlett and surrounding towns (one of Ed's clients was Steven Laurent, the son to the deceased Abenaki Indian Chief, Joseph Laurent). Ed could be his own boss and  would never have to worry about layoffs or getting fired, ever again. It made Ed hopeful and happy.  Happy for the first time,..for the first time in many years.  With his new found sobriety and freedom Ed based his new business from a little shack his sister Jeanne afforded him, until he was well and able to stand on his own two feet and eventually buy his sister's property. Ed was jubilant! Ed soon decided it was time to up the ante on his business ventures and with the money he had saved with his handyman business started buying good used snowmobiles and stockpiling them until he had seven.  He had done his home work, or market research for a better term, and Ed had discovered a reprieve from his old life of living on the edge of society,  that prior to his last incarceration he would of never realized it. Ed decided he could make an honest living renting snowmobiles in the winter time. That winter in 1997,  Ed Started Lil’ Man Snowmobile Rentals, and incorporated under the same name; the business made a profit the very first year. The next year buying several more snowmobiles with the money he had made the previous winter, rolling it over like any astute businessman would. Things were going good for Ed and his dog BoBo,  named after Hank Williams Jr. (Bocephus), who by the way was an important instrument in Ed’s recovery:  Ed repeatedly stated that BoBo was a vital instrument in his recovery process and that Bocephus gave Ed the 'limited and needed’ responsibility he could handle right then in his life without being overwhelmed; and it gave him, too, the unconditional love Ed yearned for but could not attain from any other normal resource (i.e. woman). After all Ed was not looking his best after so many years without proper grooming.And living on the streets or in bushes for many years…he certainly needed something. Who would date an old bum.  BoBo and Ed were inseparable. Ed frequently taking the dog right inside AA meetings, that suggesting more of a father and son team, than man and dog.  In BoBo’s ninth year, BoBo succumbed to a fast moving cancer and it devastated Ed. To the point of an immediate challenge not to pick up a drink over this terrible loss.  It was also at this point in Ed’s life he would always say that dogs should hold a higher social standing in the community than some of the ‘humans-beings’ that Ed knew. Maybe he was referring to the  Bartlett Selectman or perhaps the US forest rangers who have debilitated--and took, everything Ed had worked so hard for, up to that juncture. Ed had actually scrounged up enough money coming out of the treatment  center up in Bethlehem that he bee-lined straight to the local animal pound down off west-side road in North Conway, New Hampshire to adopt Bocephus; a.k.a. BoBo. This decision turned out to be a life saver for Ed and after his dog’s demise from cancer Ed memorialized him with a huge plaque with Bo’s picture airbrushed on it in the scene with rocks by the waters edge. (i.e. Willey House, Crawford Notch ,NH), Ed picked out this place because it was a the place him and BoBo would visit during the warm months to fish for trout …Ed fishing, BoBo waiting to eat them. (Laugh)!

            Each year Ed would use some of the money he made renting snowmobiles to purchase more and more machines. He also started renting jet skis in the summer time down in the lakes region of New Hampshire (Winipeesaukee). Just a few years into these new businesses and Ed felt he had arrived! He was making more money than he ever had, or ever even thought he would. The day he bought his first new truck was a moment he would never forget. Gone were the days of scraping enough money together and haggling with some guy over a couple hundred dollar piece-of-junk.

          Ed walked straight into the dealership, pointed out the truck he wanted and wrote a check! What a day! Hobo Ed would never have believed it possible! After a couple more years Ed was in a position to buy his own house and decided to purchase the property that he had been living on and running his business from. Ed’s sister Jeannie was more than happy to sell.  After she got sick of the local politicians herself, she took her family on their next adventure, and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Ed was so excited, he has gone from living on the streets to owning his own businesses, to owning a brand new truck, to finally owning his own land and home. Over the next few years Ed just enjoyed life. He had the perfect setup: Ed would work from December 15th through April 1st, vacation in Florida and Vegas for a few months, work from July 4th through Labor Day in September, and then vacation again until winter was back.  Ed figured he had it made!

 

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The Let Down

             Ed was wrong about having it made. It was in 2008 when Ed finally realized that with the undue restrictions and civil rights violations the town Selectman had imposed on him were trying to bring him, his business & his historical property down by refusing to recognize Ed’s legal ROW (right of way or class vi road) through the eastside of his own  property that exits into the multi-use trail system. This ROW is described on an official plat & deed that Ed has in hand, and previous owners of the property have used this road, dating back at least 130 years or to 1876. Ed has suffered many injustices at the hands of the USDA with regard to Terry Miller (the forest supervisor and a 75' spur trial) working in concert with Doug Garland (the Bartlett selectman and blockading the class vi roadway) to shut his business down without proper hearings or due process. Ed has since been redirected to fight for his rights through a judicial system that is over burdened with more important litigators involving real crimes with real victims. Official Oppression, NH RSA 643:1 is a statute that has gotten dusty. Seems that if you have nothing more than a civil rights case or a cause for a civil action you might as well pack a lunch for justice because those rights have diminished value since days gone by, especially if you're a pro se litigant.  If you are by chance, a pro se litigant without funds to hire a professional attorney to represent you,  paradoxically, you might just be better off; good luck. Ed has witnessed the judicial wheels turn and he is not impressed. With all the cut-backs taking place and,...as far as attorneys go, there are more irresponsible and unethical ones out there than you can shake a stick at,... versus just a handful of honest/hard working ones. Once you give a retainer you are at their mercy as what level out "duty to care"  you are afforded by the attorney!

     A Judge who is a Professor is a pro se litigants savior, if you get that lucky to be in ones midst; theses Judges have an inherent acuteness to detail on all matters of law concerning the constitution and due process.

  more to come....

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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