Deep Graffiti or Where My Son The Philosopher Left his Mark

Hi Friends,

I’ve run across this post from time to time and each time it haunts me. The quotes are still engraved into the wood in areas my sons chose for their carving, their graffiti. If I look for it I see it and loneliness overtakes me. It reminds me how little time we really spend raising our children and how little we really know them.

I am fortunate in that mine call me at least once a week and we email frequently. And next week the two of them will be here at home visiting me and husb. Since their biological father died when they were young, my husb has gladly stepped up to the plate of step father. He too sees these marks and wonders about what type of man my young boys grew up being. He only knows them as young men  having come into their lives when they were teens.

This post is reblogged from my catalog of blogs published before in years past. This one from January 28, 2011 specifically.

This is about quotes from around the house, where I found Nietzsche, Einstein, and Anis Nin.

“We do not see things as they are

We see things as we are.”

— attributed to Anis Nin

. Every so often I will ‘see’ one and have it resonate.Turning around in the woodshed one day to my surprise I found this painted on the beam supporting the wood shed roof. My two  sons, Eric and Ben, went through their teens writing philosopher quotes on door jams, mirror dressings and otherwise insignificant areas.


Einsteins quote

Quote over mirror



As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” — Albert Einstein

On their bedroom door jamb going into the room

Institution of Insanity


Institution of Insanity

Institution of Insanity


Along the side



in thick black letters.

On the door going out is a visual carved  “ r e a l ?”

… whose letters grow bigger and bigger until the question mark overwhelms everything else.

It’s been more than 15 years since they were  teenagers growing up here, in this house and woodshed that their Dad built. They have  long since gone to college, found their true love, and bought a house of their own. When I visit I don’t see any inscriptions on their door jams, but I treasure them here, in the house of their youth, where I still live.

If your child painted graffiti in your own home, would you paint or sand over it? What if it held deep meaning? How do you feel about graffiti inside your home? Or outside your home? As always, I welcome your comments.

You are the light of the world.  I have tagged this with ‘travels’ as I go through the journey of my life.

Love, Clar


See you back here Friday!



About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
This entry was posted in blogging, Clara Bowman-Jahn, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, Faith Journey, life story, personal growth, travels and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Deep Graffiti or Where My Son The Philosopher Left his Mark

  1. souldipper says:

    Clar, this touched me right to the roots of my being. What a great deed. What great insight this gives to the character of both your son and you.

    He showed his soul. You let it be.

    This is a blueprint for the world to follow.


  2. clarbojahn says:

    Wow, thank you. I too wish the world would have more tolerance and acceptance of each other. All we can do is let peace begin with us. Let our own beacon of light shine. I belong to Amnesty International ( . I am a freedom writer. I write letters to petition leaders and ambassadors to free prisoners of conscience, and other issues of human rights. It is one small thing that makes a difference.


  3. mieke says:

    Thanks Clar!
    I appreciate the deep truths inherent in finding evidence about ourselves
    where we’ve been and in our relations.

    Thank you for sharing the true story of the love between your family and your world.


  4. widdershins says:

    I think turnabout is fair play …. take your trusty marker pens with you next time you visit the son and return the favour… it could be the start of a family tradition for generations too come!


  5. jannatwrites says:

    I don’t think this would happen in our house because they’ve been told (threatened) not to write on the walls! But if I did find such writings long after they left home, I would certainly preserve them. Those are such sweet memories, thank you for sharing them :p

    P.S. I saw you asked how to make the smilies – I responded with the two I use most, but then I got curious and found this page with tons of emoticons you can make (if you are so inclined):


  6. widdershins says:

    Janna…. thanks for the link


  7. clarbojahn says:

    Hi Janna,
    Yes, it does matter what and where the graffiti is in the house. The biggest and best are kinda hidden. The one that resonates with me the most is on a beam as you go out of the woodshed.”We do not see things as they are but as we are.” It’s in the shadow of the shed as you go out to the light. This in itself is meaningful although I don’t think Eric thought of that at the time.The rest are in rooms used as his bedroom at different times in his life as a teen. He even had a rather large painted yin/yang sign on one wall of his bedroom that I have kept but it is behind book shelves now.
    Thanks for the explanation of emoticons. I’ll try it. 🙂


  8. clarbojahn says:

    yep. it works! 😀


  9. Hi Clar,
    I love the graffiti your son posted. My kids never did that and as much as I’d like to say I’d have kept it if they had, I fear that they would not have been as philosophical. They were far more likely to have been scatological and painting over would have been a necessity. Sigh.


  10. clarbojahn says:

    Thank you for your comment, Bobbi, I guess I got ‘lucky’. When my sons left home I spent hours cleaning the shine-in-the-night alien faces they had stuck all over the ceiling and walls and phone and….
    Things are not always what they


  11. Amélie says:

    I think your sons must be very interesting young men. What a way to connect long after they’ve moved on! Right now, my children are little and if they were to write anything on a wall, I’m sure it would be their names in that lovely gangly script of little ones, and perhaps a moon and sun. That would be kind of lovely in itself to come across many years from now. When they’re in their teens, I could only hope for something with as much meaning and intent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Amelie.

      Yes, it is very nice to see these reminders of how they were once. I have saved recorders of their voices as well as they learned to read. I guess the only things of Memory I have of toddler days is graft items. Like a mothers day card made during preschool.

      Thanks so much for visiting and commenting. 🙂


  12. Your sons are creative and charming! I would not paint over things my kids had taken care to inscribe around the house…not until I had to sell the house anyway. 🙂


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Teresa!

      It’s good to get an opinion that matches mine. I guess with the carvings in wood I’ll have to sand it down when I sell or rent. I like the way you think. 🙂


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