Something happened to me today. I was browsing Instagram, and I saw a photo from my friend Betsy. And I looked a little closer at this photo, and I was taken aback.
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to recreate for you the experience I had. Stay with me here.
First, some context. I participate in an event called 20×2, where 20 people are tasked with answering the same question. At this particular event I’m about to share, the question was “Who Cares?”.
Here’s my answer to the question. And again, if you’ll indulge me… watch this video (it’s only 2 minutes) before proceeding.
Ok, all caught up? Good.
This morning, on Instagram, this is the photo I saw:
When I saw the gravestones, I couldn’t believe it.
When I showed Liz, she wasn’t clear at first what she was looking at. When I directed her to the gravestones, she shouted out “BOBO!”
What I discovered was that many, many people in the area knew of Bobo. And while I happened to see a sign or two, there were actually hundreds of these signs – each made with love, each posted with love.
I always thought of Bobo as a small detail that Liz and I shared, an encounter on our walks to/from work (back when we used to go downtown for work). We were both touched by the signs, and looked for Bobo a lot when we first saw them. We really did keep an eye out for him, as best we could.
I don’t know why I never thought to do it, but on searching about Bobo… I found out that so many people, in Hyde Park and Bronzeville, knew of Bobo. And I got to learn a lot more of his sad story.
In my mind, Bobo escaped the brutal Chicago winters and has relocated to warmer climes. I imagine him sipping on a Piña Colada (without the straw) on a beach somewhere, wearing a pair of sunglasses. Don’t ask me how the sunglasses work without ears, they just do.
I’m still thinking of Bobo, after all these years. And while the sadness of his story has grown more for me, I’m heartened that so many other strangers were moved… and so many of us were also looking out for Bobo, on our walks all through Hyde Park. And that we all kept an eye out for him, as the leaves fall.
An Old Video Shows Up in a New Video
Felix Jung, 20×2 Chicago: Who Cares?
Returning to 20×2 Chicago After Two Years
Seek Him as the Leaves Fall
Our Courtyard Tree was Older and More Famous Than I Realized