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  • Collin Fowelr

"Ponyboy, I Love You!" and "Edible Underwear"

It was the early 80s in beautiful downtown Seymour, Connecticut. A piece of graffiti on the Route 8 overpass captured the imagination of a generation. That may be overstating it a bit, but one can't begin a story with: "One time, somebody wrote something on a bridge."


It was a quote from "The Outsiders" on a pillar in white spray paint that read:

"Ponyboy,

I LOVE YOU!

CHERRY"


This fascinating piece of art was on the way to where Steve, Franky, and I took karate class as well as next to the baseball card shop where my brother, Nate, spent half of his youth.


Each time we passed the sign, we were required to read it aloud. It was a thing.


Sometimes, Nate and I would be in the car or watching television at home when one of us would announce: "Ponyboy, I love you. Cherry." We'd crack up for reasons I still don't understand. Oxford really could be that boring.


The graffiti was covered over years ago, probably in the early 90s. However, Franky notified me this morning that he was running an errand and noted that there was a cleaning crew under the overpass. Not unlike the feeling that Howard Carter had when he gazed upon the treasures of King Tutankhamun for the first time, Franky saw something, something beautiful not viewed by human eyes in decades.


It was the Ponyboy sign!


I don't usually get emotional at these sort of things, but it was kind of like seeing an old friend who you thought was dead.


Speaking of old friends, about a quarter of a mile up the road toward Oxford was another landmark, Rena's Ultra Boutique. Rena's was a shop on the ground floor of an old building that I believed had long since fallen into the Naugatuck River or burned down. It was the kind of place one could drive past a thousand times and never notice except for one thing. In the large picture window was a sign that read "EDIBLE UNDERWEAR."


The sign was not particularly large and if I remember correctly, may even have been handwritten in red marker on white poster board.


As kids and young teens, this was a constant source of amusement.


Why in the hell would anyone want to eat underwear?

Shouldn't you wash it first?

What would they make it out of?


Back to the old friend you thought was dead thing... I mentioned Rena's to a high school pal who informed me that the once sacred institution did not burn down or fall into a sinkhole at all. They had only changed locations. I was happy - nay ecstatic - to hear that Rena's is alive and well and living somewhere in the northern part of the state as the following somewhat fuzzy photograph proves.

I realize that it's somewhat blurry but there are people who believe in Bigfoot based on much worse photographic evidence than this.


So, if you need to purchase yourself a sleek pair of edible undies, are just curious about what flavors are available, or if you need to wash them on the delicate setting, you're not out of luck yet!


Special thanks to "Franky" and Jim LaMontagne for the photos!

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