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Batman logo says, ‘I love you’

It is the story of a childhood hero and one of true love, one that later left this real-life Batman fan with another symbol: that of a bleeding, broken heart.
He is 43 and divorced. He lives in Jeffersonville, but his heart remains in Corydon, along with the Batman symbols he painted at the Corydon-Interstate-64 interchange and on both lanes of S.R. 135 west of town, at Hayswood hill.
We begin at the beginning.
‘Every kid had a childhood hero,’ he said. ‘He was mine. So many times my mother had to come and get me, hanging from a tree with a blue towel tied around my neck. If you had that towel on, that cape on, you thought you were a super hero.’
When he was a kid he and his three brothers and a sister grew up in Jeffersonville, but, luckily, he said, his grandfather lived in Central. ‘We came down every summer; that’s when I first hit Jocko’s. My best friend moved here when I was going into junior high.
‘I came down every summer and spent the summer with him; his parents were like my parents.’
His best friend, though, was killed in an automobile accident on S.R. 62. ‘Growing up, you only have one best friend; you can never replace him; you never have another friend like that.’
Batman-fan grew up, married and had a daughter, and then, as is often the case these days, a divorce. He had custody of the child and his parents cared for her while he was away, working on a barge eight months out of the year on ‘the river.’
He blames the divorce on seldom being home.
Nevertheless, he said, ‘I was a happy person.’
And then one day it happened.
‘The (Harrison) county fair was going on. You know how it is ‘ everybody’s happy at the county fair.’
As he left the fairgrounds, driving north on Capitol Avenue, Batman-fan passed Alstott’s Ace Hardware at the corner of Capitol and Poplar.
‘On the corner at Ace Alstott’s, she was standing there with a girl standing beside her, holding her hand. On her hip was another little girl. My heart skipped a beat.
‘They say when you find the girl you are going to live the rest of your life with, you just know,’ he said. ‘I believe that; I’m a hopeless romantic.’
Batman-fan spent a month looking for the girl of his dreams. When he saw her go into a building in downtown Corydon, he waited outside, pretending to look at her car. ‘When she came out of the building I asked her if she was interested in selling it. We had our first date Oct. 16, 1991, and a year to that day we were married.’
But the river rose up again and swallowed his heart. ‘Being gone all that time, things happen,’ he said. ‘She found someone else and moved. She took my heart.’
That’s when the first symbol appeared on the interstate, Batman-fan said, because she would know it was left by him, a hopeless Batman fan. ‘I knew when she would come home to see her parents she would see the symbol. I was hoping her heart would smile just a little bit.’
(I can’t tell you how he did the painting, because that might encourage some youngster to try his hand. And that would be too dangerous on a busy interstate.)
Time passed and Batman-fan got a call from the woman’s brother, who said their grandmother was ill and in the hospital and his sister wanted him to know. ‘I came up here and sat with her every night until her grandmother passed. She gave me a book, The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks. It was the best book I ever read. It touched me deeply.’
Time went by, and fair time rolled around again. Now, it makes him sad.
‘I found out she was divorced and back in town. I knew where she was living, and I knew she would have to travel that road (135) coming and going to work. That’s why I painted the symbols on that road. She would have to pass over them all the time.’
He said, ‘Batman was a good guy. He always was a good person, but he never got the woman.
‘Catwoman broke his heart many times.’