January 26, 2011


On my way to the park this week, I noticed a number of graffiti artists had scrawled their names on telephone poles along the way. My route isn’t on any main thoroughfare so the poles aren’t plastered six inches deep with posters like those on main routes. Naturally, I was surprised to see words suddenly appear.

The impulse to leave one’s name in a public place must run deep in us as people have been doing it for centuries. Before telephone poles, the barks of trees used to suffice. “Paul loves Mary,” or a similar message was a common sight. Digging one’s initials into wet cement is another place where the obscure strive for immortality. 

Life passes quickly. It’s hard to fault the impulse to leave a calling card that says, “I was here.”   

In an earlier blog (blog: 1/19/11), I wrote about Audrey Erkin-Lindop, author of “The Singer Not the Song.”  I could recall the book’s title but had difficulty remembering the author’s name. What’s more I found little about her on the web. Her book was popular, certainly. A pretty good movie featuring top stars came out of it. Yet as far as recorded history is concerned, she is all but forgotten. If that could happen to Audrey Erkin-Lindop, then I don’t hold out much hope for the graffiti writers as they stare into the face of eternity.

I took my mother to lunch last week and on the way home, she asked what I thought life was all about. As she turns 95 next month, I had hoped she’d be able to tell me. Regrettably, I was forced to admit I didn’t know the answer. But then I got to thinking about Audrey Erkin-Lindop and of the book she’d written and how I’d remembered it after fifty years. She’d left behind a wonderful legacy for others to enjoy, something more important than her name.

Shakespeare in his play, “Julius Caesar, has Mark Anthony observe that the evil men do lives after them (Act 3, scene 2). But I tend to think the good men and women do also has a shot at immortality. I’ll tell my mother that when I take her to lunch this Friday.