Author of slain boy's epitaph honored by family's use of it

September 27, 1992|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A Joppatowne mother of four says she feels "honored" that Jamie Griffin's parents used the words she placed anonymously on a sign two years ago for a memorial stone where the youth's body was found in the Gunpowder Falls State Park.

The search for the Dulaney High School senior was still under way in 1983, when Shari Beth Baldwin, 38, moved to Joppatowne and began weekly walks in the woods there. During the walks, she told her children about the missing 17-year-old pianist, warning them to be careful.

When Jamie's body was found buried near Bradshaw Road on March 24, 1990, she went home and made the plywood sign. She nailed it and tied a bouquet to a pine tree above the spot.

"May the legend of Jamie Griffin live forever in the hearts and minds of all who enter the Gunpowder River," her weathered sign proclaims.

Ms. Baldwin said she had no idea the Griffins visited the place, until a few days before last Halloween, when she saw something large and gray through the trees.

Words almost identical to hers were inscribed on a memorial stone that Norville and Lou Ellen Griffin of Cockeysville had placed at the spot where their son's body had been buried for eight years. They say their decision was inspired by her sign.

Ms. Baldwin recalled: "That day when we saw the headstone, I started crying because I felt honored that they like my words well enough to put on their son's headstone."

Ms. Baldwin, who is a bookkeeper for a television service, said her telephone began ringing early Sunday when family and friends read a newspaper story about the memorial.

"At first I thought, let it stay a mystery. But then I read that they were still wondering who put it there," Ms. Baldwin said. "It was just a mother, who was lucky enough to have four children whose lives turned out OK, to a mother who lost her only child."

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