The Suburbanite
  • Postcard from Jackson Twp.: Literary characters come to life in allotment

  • Drive into this particular Jackson Township allotment and you may stop at the intersection of Huckleberry and Thatcher. Sawyer Street is nearby. Sense a literary theme?

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  • Huckleberry Finn met Becky Thatcher in Jackson Township.
    We aren’t changing literary history here, or altering the nation’s geography. It’s a matter of the location of an allotment.
    Thatcher Avenue NW forms an intersection with Huckleberry Street NW just south of Akron-Canton Airport. Sawyer Street NW — we can only assume it’s named after Tom — is nearby.
    Appropriately, the author who wrote novels for those characters — “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” — is recognized in the same set of streets by Mark Twain Circle NW.
    Truly this is an allotment inspired by the writing — under his well-known pseudonym, Mark Twain — of Samuel Clemens.
    It’s not the only gathering of streets in the area to employ a theme, of course.
    “Over there they’ve got birds,” said Alfred Gaiani, who resides with his wife, Mary, on Thatcher, just before it intersects with Twain.
    Gaiani gestured toward the south side of Huckleberry where such residential roads as Bob White Street NW, Bobolink Street NW, Meadowlark Street NW, Oriole Avenue NW, Cardinal Avenue NW, and Whippoorwill Street NW all nest in another allotment.
    Next to those fine feathered roadways are a handful of streets named after beverages — Burgundy Avenue NW, Chianti Avenue NW, Vermouth Avenue NW and Brandy Circle NW.
    And nearby are streets honoring American Indians — Choctaw Circle NW, Comanche Drive NW, Saginaw Circle NW, Pontiac Circle NW, Cherokee Drive NW and Pawnee Street NW.
    Those groupings are creative. But there is something eye-catching about streets named Huck Circle NW and Finn Circle NW when you see them next to each other on a map. Together they form a name.
    This is not a new literary phenomenon. Houses and duplexes occupying the Mark Twain streets appear as though they were built years ago. Trees surrounding them are mature.
    “Our house was one of the first houses out here,” said Mary Gaiani. Their house was built late in the 1970s, her husband said.
    Homes on Thatcher closer to Huckleberry seem a bit older, said the Gaianis.
    They aren’t as old as Mark Twain’s humorous writing, of course.
    It apparently took about a century for tributes to the writer’s work to appear in Stark County. “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” was written in 1876 and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was penned in 1885.
    An oddity concerning the Twain allotment is presented by the existence of Josephine Street NW, a short street off of Thatcher.
    Who in the name of Huck Finn is Josephine?
    It may have nothing to do with either of Twain’s novels. If it is connected in any way to Twain — and it may just be a randomly named street — it could be through his newspaper writing.
    Page 2 of 2 - Once in a newspaper essay, Twain wrote about the dying words of great individuals. “The Empress Josephine said, ‘Not for Jo-’ and could get no further.”
    At any rate, it now appears we may need both a GPS device and a literature professor to navigate this particular part of Jackson Township.

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