Be Kind, July 11th, 2019
My parents retired and moved from Kansas City to
Savannah, Georgia in the fall of 1990.
That was the summer I was working in the Amazon on that
crazy film. So when the job ended I flew to Savannah to
help my folks settle into their home on Skidaway Island.
My folks were 58 years old.
My Dad noticed that Savannah wasn’t doing so well. This
was before the movie “Forrest Gump” and the book
“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” that would put
Savannah on the map of world tourist destinations.
Today, tour buses and street cars carry tourists all around
Savannah with tour guides on loudspeakers telling this and
that history of the town.
It is an interesting city. It has a lot of good architecture and
a population of …well, go to Savannah yourself and see.
But back in the fall of 1990, there was poverty in Savannah.
The black population was dying every day in some drug war
shootout or another sad end.
The economy was bad.
Then an art school was founded in Savannah and it all
turned around. SCAD brought in young artists to the city
and they changed it. They rebuilt the homes and businesses
and made Savannah the jewel (well, a sweaty bug infested
jewel) that it is.
But before SCAD ( you will have to google it. I can’t put a
link in the story ) it was pretty rough in Savannah, Georgia.
So my Dad decided to go to a billboard company and rent
space on the billboards around Savannah with the saying,
“Be Kind” in yellow letters on a black background.
It cost my Dad $7,000 or so, which was serious money in
Maybe it helped. Years ago I found a video interview from
the local TV station about the billboards.
The young woman being interviewed said that, “The
billboards make me feel good. They cheer me up. Let’s hope
that we can all be kind to each other.”
My Dad didn’t tell me this story for a few decades.
I’m glad he put up the billboards and I’m glad he told me