Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kilroy Was Here

There has been much written about the origin and proliferation of Kilroy.

It was a simply drawing with just the bald head, and hands showing from behind a wall. His long nose protruded over the wall, and his beady eyes shown bright. The words, “Kilroy was here,” were always intimating that he was there first.

In December 1946 the New York Times credited James J. Kilroy, a welding inspector at the Bethlehem Steel shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, with starting the craze. Usually, inspectors used a small chalk mark, but welders were erasing those to get double-paid for their work. To prevent this, Mr. Kilroy marked his welding work with the long crayoned phrase ("Kilroy was here") on the items he inspected. The graffito became a common sight around the shipyard, and was imitated by workers when they were drafted and sent around the world. As the war progressed, people began opening void spaces on ships for repair, and the mysterious Mr. Kilroy's name would be found there, in sealed compartments "Where no one had been before."

To the troops in those ships, however, it was a complete mystery — all they knew for sure was that he had "been there first." As a joke, they began placing the graffiti wherever they (the US forces) landed or went, claiming it was already there when they arrived.

As a young girl during WW2 I can remember seeing these signs everywhere that you could use a can of spray paint. We kids would write on our book covers, “Kilroy was here.” It was a fun thing to do, but no one really knew why.

Kilroy signs spread everywhere from coast to coast, and from sea to sea. The military did much to spread his message. Yes, he was there first “Where no one else had ever been before.”

I am wondering if my mansion in heaven is reserved just for me, and no one else has ever been there before. I certainly hope, it is not Mr. Kilroy!

I sure do not want to see this sign in heaven near my mansion: Kilroy was Here

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