Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mark Twain Missouri

Missouri has been home to many famous people; Harry S. Truman, T.S. Eliot, Walter Cronkite, Dick Van Dyke and, one of my favorites, Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known to the world by his pen name Mark Twain, was born in Florida, Missouri in 1835. When he was 4 his family moved to Hannibal, a Mississippi river town that became the basis for St. Petersburg in his books, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

It's obvious that the "Show Me" state is proud of their native son. There is a Mark Twain National Forest and it is not just one continuous collection of woodlands, but is spread out in patches across the state. There are countless roads bearing his name, as well as a riverboat and various buildings. Even a shopping mall. I'm not sure how receptive he would be to THAT particular honor.

I remember when I was in the 10th grade my American Literature teacher, Mr. Williams, had us read The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. I had of course, by that point in my life, already read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but I found Calaveras County to be particularly humorous and enjoyable. After that, I had to find and read other Twain classics such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Roughing It, and A Tramp Abroad.

I had hoped to visit Hannibal while in Missouri, but the closest I have been able to get is within one hour of it. It does not appear that my remaining time here will allow me to visit his childhood home on this trip. Maybe another time.

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