Nine is the number before death and yellow and black is beware danger. ’69 is of course is very conspicuous. The Odd Fellows symbol is there, the three links. And it is the year that I found the Star of Hope, and which is in the middle of the Penobscot Bay and E-L-I is many things. It is Eliot Elisofon. It is Ellen Elisofon, his daughter, who accompanied me to the island from Skowhegan, and I was still, however on skid row, which again, is the Bowery.
— Robert Indiana
Excerpt from Susan Elizabeth Ryan, interview with Robert Indiana, May 5, 1992, Robert Indiana: Figures of Speech Archive, 1987–2005.