Sometime before I was born, someone had spray-painted the question, “which OnE yall hit My Boy on His hade?” on the train bridge between Cheltenham and Abington townships. My mom pointed it out whenever we drove underneath, and though my siblings and I didn’t understand the humor as children, we laughed anyway. It was something we shared, not just as a family, but as a community. Every town has legends, and this was one of ours. Where had it come from? Who’d painted it there? Over the years, many cars went by, and I assumed the passengers shared our sense of camaraderie. Whenever I met someone from the area, in another place, we’d somehow get to talking about the bridge, about this graffiti, and everyone knew what it was.

A while back, my brother was walking to a nearby deli when he spied a flyer, posted by a local historian, seeking the source of this line. A contact number was listed, and he considered calling to see if anyone had stepped forward with information, but he never followed up.

Local government eventually painted over the bridge in a bid to beautify the neighborhood. Afterward, someone tried to restore the effect by scrawling, “W’ich won y’all heet ma boy on he hade?” with little success. The mistakes, we assumed, were intentional, the mismatched caps were missing, and the passion was fake. The bandit had used apostrophes. Whoever was asking about his boy’s hade, whoever had defaced public property to bring us such joy, would never be found.

The following summer, when the bridge was repainted, nobody bothered to do it again.