Walking across the long-abandoned campus of a girls' school in my neighborhood, I saw a stone marker: "Ivy from the Birthplace of Shakespeare." Nearby were others: "Ivy from Mount Vernon"; "Ivy from Mark Twain's Birthplace"; and so forth. The ivy is dead. The students are gone. The sidewalks are cracked; windows are boarded over. Water leaks through roofs; paint peels and woodwork rots; statues are eroded, arms and heads broken off. Walls slump; fountains stand dry. A few years ago fire destroyed one building. Bricks and debris lie scattered about.
We remember Shakespeare, Washington, Twain, et al., but not because of any monuments. Their names live because of what they did and why they chose to do it --- that is, because of who they were.
Saturday, January 22, 2000 at 12:20:54 (EST) = Datetag20000122