OLD TIMERS JOIN BRANDING BUDDIES!
I believe it was Daniel Boone that we read about who carved a
message proclaiming to all comers that he “killed a bar here” in the
old days. We didn’t get that elaborate in our carvings. Usually just
plain initials served the purpose. We didn’t even proclaim that Norris
Probably the most unique way we devised to initialize our
territory was to carve our initials in the large leaves of prickly
pears. This was a tricky and sometimes hazardous operation since the
leaves were loaded with large thorns and the fine irritating stickers.
But once the initials were engraved with a sharp pocket knife, they were
there for a long time. The sliced areas on the pear leaves healed
quickly and left the initials plainly visible. We did not perform any
statistical tests to determine how long our graffiti would endure, but I
doubt if it is still showing.
During the winter season animals grew longer and thicker hair.
Most country kids carved their initials on the backs of turtles
and terrapins. We were also guilty of this practice. I don’t think the
carving hurt the creatures because the shells are pretty thick and the
carving was not very deep. We never knew how long the initials were
visible. We sometimes wondered if the shell grew over them and hid them
or if they carried the artwork as long as they lived. There might be
room for a research project there.
When it was obvious that we were to be involved in WWII the
preparation for war began in earnest. One of the first jobs I had was a
40-cents-an-hour position helping to unload railway box cars for the
What I noticed immediately about the many box cars was the
graffiti scribbled with chalk and crayon on the inside and outside of
the cars. One drawing stood out in just about every group. There was a
simple picture of some guy with a long brimmed hat and underneath it the
words “Bozo Texino”. I had no idea if he were a hobo, a railroad
worker or an inspector. But one thing was certain,
he had the opportunity to decorate many box cars that traveled
all over the
Of course everyone is familiar with the WWII graffiti starring
Kilroy. Usually some guy with a big nose was standing behind a board
fence with his nose hanging over and the words, “Kilroy was here”
underneath. Kilroy was in many places – on walls, on signboards, on
tanks, on trucks, on boxcars or just about anywhere there was a space
and someone had a piece of chalk or a pen. Wherever a soldier or defense
worked went he left his sign. Kilroy even showed up on the fuselage of
new airplanes in the factories and this really irritated the inspectors
and the workers who had to remove the markings.
Was leaving initials and graffiti a lot of fun? It sure was!
Maybe you ought to build a rock garden, plant a prickly pear and carve
your initials in one of the big leaves! Or you could write “Bozo
Texino” on the family car with a marks-a-lot! A lot of people would
think that was fun!