American Graffiti

No advocate of vandalism, I should come clean. As a second grader, I contributed a graffiti statement, leaving my tag on a bathroom stall. I never told anyone, possibly because of my dichotomy of emotions: I was proud of what I wrote, but ashamed of how I did it.

Flashback to 1969, a fierce era in our country: fighting in Vietnam, activating civil rights and advancing the women’s movement, to name a few. While only a seven-year-old at the time, I was aware, thanks to Walter Cronkite, of current events and social climate. A question that I now often ask myself surfaced in my childhood head: What can I do to make things better?

At Holly Hill Elementary, class bathroom breaks were taken after recess and lunch. First and second grade boys shared a restroom with the more advanced fourth graders, whose classrooms were further down the school’s hall. Perhaps because I was pee-shy, I used the stall instead of joining most of the others at the long latrine positioned barely two feet from the floor. During one visit to the enclosed compartment, I noticed alarming four-letter words, obviously vocabulary of the older boys, etched on the green metal divider wall. I’d heard the salty words before from grown-ups and junior high kids, but had never seen them displayed in such a public manner.

As a child, I didn’t like what I read, but, was also intrigued. Was this form of communication acceptable at school? I knew it wasn’t, but that didn’t stop me from scrawling my own mark. I took the latch from my belt buckle and quickly added my own four-letter word.

The word was LOVE.

Love and light,


12 thoughts on “American Graffiti

  1. Stephanie Wilson

    No better 4 letter word!! And just so you know, the girls did the same thing in their stalls, too. Guess they were trying to be “cool”!

    1. Tony Post author

      Awww. You’re sweet! It’s a true story, I promise. And, as far as beautiful. I had the most beautiful 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. DeWitt, ever!

  2. kaye

    That’s awesome! I have lots of memories of the ‘Holly Hill Era’. However, one I will never EVER forget was when my mother tried to explain to me how the ‘daddy ‘of one of my down -the -street playmates, (a helicopter pilot ) (and fellow Holly Hill classmate), had been killed in that war. And, since my own daddy was a helicopter pilot, I remember being scared and clingy. I never thought that something like that could ever happen. 🙁
    Thanks for sharing. If there had been such a thing as coed bathrooms back in the day… I’da been right there withya. 🙂

    1. Tony Post author

      Honey…wow, that had to have been a challenge for your mother. She undoubtedly knew (or was guide to know) what to say to her children during this period. xoxo

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