It was not my intention to reference again so soon former Portage Lakes Historical President Miriam Miller, who passed away recently.
It just worked out that way.
And I’m glad it did, because there was a whole lot to that special lady that didn’t make it into my recent column about her passing.
Now there’s an added piece to her story and it comes with the news that the United States Post Office has decided to grant a request by Coventry Township officials to give the township its own mailing address.
So Miriam’s beloved Coventry Township, where she grew up and went to grade school and high school is going to get its place on the national "map," literally and figuratively.
She would be so delighted. She’s jumping for joy somewhere as I write this.
The zip codes won’t change – and who really cares about something as generic and lifeless as zip codes anyway? Ttownship residents will now be able to send and receive mail with "Coventry Township, Ohio" on it in front of the zip code.
How cool is that?
Most everybody is proud of where they live. And when where they live is a smaller community surrounded by much bigger communities – in Coventry’s case, Akron and Barberton – that are big, dark dots on the map, you want your friends from other places to know that you don’t live in those cities. You live where you live, in a place that’s totally separate. It’s not that you dislike those cities – you shop there and go there for a variety of things, such as movies, restaurants and sporting events – but you don’t live there. You only get your mail "there."
And that’s a big difference.
Yes, anonymity, whether it be for yourself or your home, is a good thing.
Now Coventry Township – and its residents, past and present – have that in some way, shape or form.
But wait, there’s more. It’s something that no one has brought up yet on this story, and probably never will.
Actually, this is an added piece to the added piece of Miriam Miller’s story, if that makes any sense.
Miriam and I worked together on a long series of Portage Lakes Historical Society stories that ran in The Suburbanite 40 years ago, in my first foray with the paper. She’d research a topic of her choosing, write a story about it and then present it to me, and explain it to me, in weekly meetings at her home.
There were a lot about those stories that fascinated me, especially since I’ve always been a history buff, but one thing stood out more than the rest.
It came when Miriam showed me old maps. I couldn’t believe how big Coventry Township used to be. You wouldn’t believe it, either, if you had seen them.
I immediately questioned Miriam about it and, thus sensing my interest, she would point out in great detail to me that Coventry, way back in the 1800s and even into the first part of the 1900s, used to extend deep – very deep – into areas that are now part of Akron. Coventry once was closer to what is present-day Downtown Akron than you could ever imagine.
Since then, Akron has chipped away at Coventry like a coal miner, burrowing further and further into the township to the point that, in terms of square miles, it is just a shadow of its former self.
That’s part of progress, I guess. What else could it be?
But the progress of one community often times comes at the expense of another, and that was the case here.
Coventry will never get that land back, or its stature as one of Summit County’s biggest communities.
But it can get something better, and it has.
It traded its land for a name – an official name, as determined by the U.S. government. That allows Coventry Township to get some of its swagger back, and you can’t put a price on that.
It infuses all its residents with tremendous pride. And a community with great pride is a great community.
But Miriam Miller could have told you that about her favorite place decades ago.