Bricks with Names

There is more than one way to leave a legacy. You can give someone a gift or an inheritance. A picture or a ring. But a brick? This is from ‘Notes To My Kids”.

To Roger and Jane:

When you were young, the Fort Worth Public Library was engaged in a project to revamp and expand the downtown Central branch. It was in the early 1990s, and they were short of money to do this ambitious project. As a result, they began a rather unique fundraising effort. This was the sale of bricks, with people’s names or wishes inscribed on them, which would be placed on the building’s sidewalks. Since I was a regular patron of the branch, I decided to buy one for each of you. Thus the “Bricks with Your Names” were born.

I remember going downtown to the branch and writing out the check and filling in the forms with what I wanted the bricks to say. As you know, I put your full names on them. Some months later, the bricks started appearing around the edges of the building; and one day, I went there, and I saw yours in the area they call “Peter Rabbit Court” on the south side of the building on 3rd Street. Your bricks were not next to each other but were just a few feet apart. More than once I took you to see them. But like most little kids, you were not particularly excited about them; you were more focused on things like getting me to take you to McDonalds or Charlie’s Pizza for lunch. I bet I was not the only parent who was greeted with such a lack of appreciation!

Many citizens bought these bricks and are now around the perimeter of the redone and stately façade of the building, which unfortunately had several bad water leaks and took even more time and money to repair. You could walk over the bricks and see the names of other people, both young and old, and I wondered who they were. What kind of people were they? What memories were enshrined by these little monuments under my feet? These little bricks were the signs of other lives and the host of memories that went with them.

When I see your bricks even after so long—I still visit them—they make me go back through the years and think of you when you were little. In their innate smallness, they now paint the large canvass of your early lives in my mind. These little bricks will make those times live on in a way, perhaps when you visit them one day with your own yet-to-be-born kids. Also maybe in the minds of others who never knew us as they too walk over them in silence as I have done many times. Maybe they will wonder who the other people were, the people with their names on the bricks at the library downtown

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2 Responses to Bricks with Names

  1. rubypjohnson says:

    When I left my last job, they placed a brick with my name on it in the courtyard by the ER. Probably no one will even know who Ruby Johnson is when they walk across it, but it’s there until they decide to use the space for something else.

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