Photo of the Week
June 8, 2003

Last week's Photo of the Week ignited some interest and I received several emails in regards to what "Gobs" meant.  Well I should have looked it up in the dictionary because it was there.  gob - noun - slang.  a seaman in the U.S. naval service.  I searched the Internet for more explanation as to what the G the O the B and S meant, but could not find anything but the following.

Here are a couple on-line definitions/explanations:

1. Gob is variously explained as a derivative from the Chinese (?) word gobshite, and as the old word gob, signifying a large, irregular mass, applied to a new use. The original meaning of gobshite I don’t know. One correspondent suggests that gob was first used to designate sailors because of their somewhat voracious and noisy habits of feeding. He tells a story of an old master-at-arms who happened into a land aëro-station and found a party of sailors solemnly at table. “My Gawd,” he exclaimed, “lookit the gobs, usin’ forks an’ all!” 

2. Although lexicographers believe gobs took to the seas during World War I, the word’s origin is a mystery.

Okay!  Now that we are all "Gobed" out, I was organizing some of my photos, post cards and images today and found this really great old colorized print.  I almost fell out of my chair when I saw what was going on here. This print evidently came from an old book, but I don't know what book.  I picked up a hand full of these 11 x 13" colorized prints a few months ago on ebay.  This one originally caught my eye when I was bidding on ebay as a unique scene.  Now, since last week's photo of the Gobs train at Pedro Miguel Locks, this one fits perfectly!  Although I don't have any exact dates for this colorized photo nor last weeks, I would wager that it is either the same train or one within the very same time period.  Someone wrote me that there was Naval fleets that transited during the 1919 - 1921 time frame that stopped for tours like this.  

These are the same Wason Passenger Coaches that are being used in last week's photo.  It is so very unfortunate that the original photographer didn't capture the locomotive.  This original image states that it was taken in Cristobal and identified as government docks in Cristobal.  This area looks unfamiliar, but could be the area near the old Quarter Master docks near Fort De Lesseps.

Comment from Vicente Pascual after posting.  "On your photo of the week, that photo shows as follows " Panama R.R. Docks, Cristobal. General view of Pier # 16, Jan 14, 1913.  This pier was near the old Cristobal town site, almost in front of the old De Lesseps house that had the Columbus Statue in front of it."

An our Canal Zone heritage mysteries continue...

Long live the memories of the Canal Zone era.

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