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Farewell To An Anonymous Friend

On March 24 beloved Hillcrest resident Shelley Taylor Smith passed away. I am

reliably advised that she died unexpectedly in her sleep. If the name isn’t ringing a bell

for you, perhaps you knew her as her alter ego, the Hillcrest Chalk Fairy, bringer of

joyous and whimsical graffiti to the sidewalks of our neighborhood.

In 2017, former resident and all around wonderful gal Katherine Kuo and I were

in charge of the Hillcrest Newsletter that was put out by the Hillcrest Residents

Association at that time. I managed to track the HCF down through mutual friends and

she eventually responded to the email address on the card I passed around to them and

to certain other of her known human associates.

While she wouldn’t agree to be interviewed, she described herself thusly: “She is

an anonymous creature that flies by night, under the cover of darkness, spreading

words of (sometimes) wisdom and hoping to, at least, make someone smile the next

day.” Good enough.

I live over by Knoop Park now and I don’t get over to the Promenade area she

tended to strike with the chalk much anymore. So I can’t say for certain how active the

HCF had been lately. But the example of her handiwork we ran on the cover of the

2017 Holiday Issue was typical of what the HCF put down. Handwritten in hot pink

chalk, it reminded the reader that “It only takes a moment to make a stranger smile.

#HCF.” What’s not to love about that?

The HCF is deeply mourned by many folks in the Hillcrest neighborhood that she

loved and by the local arts community. It is always a sad thing when a delightful soul

like Shelly Taylor Smith, is no longer with us. And as for me, I don’t have much of a

reason to look at the sidewalks around here anymore.

Arthur Paul Bowen


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