My mom was an English major, so while we were near the Mississippi, we visited Hannibal, Missouri, childhood home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain (and I will be using the name Mark Twain for the rest of this post). Twain’s book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is more than slightly autobiographical, and a number of locations in town are labeled as if the fictional characters and events of Tom Sawyer really happened. The house that Twain’s childhood sweetheart, Laura Hawkins, lived in, for example, is labeled as Becky Thatcher’s House, and is a tourist attraction. Similarly, there is a cave on which the cave from Tom Sawyer is based has been named the Mark Twain Cave and is also a (very touristy) tourist attraction.
Overall, my mom was unimpressed; the town was a lot touristier than she had been expecting. I wasn’t sure what to expect — I was barely a teenager and hadn’t traveled much yet. I did buy a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the bookstore there and I know I still have that book. I was, at this point, just going into high school, so I read the book for a book report I think it was my freshman year.
For some unknown reason, there is a picture of what certainly looks to be the Blount Mansion in Knoxville, Tennessee in this part of the photo album. There is a sign that says “Blount Mansion” and has an arrow pointing to the left in the foreground and the only Blount Mansion I could find is in Knoxville. There is also an unreadable historical marker in the front yard, so I thought that maybe this was a house near the Blount Mansion. But the more I look at the picture and at the mansion in Google Street View, the more I think that this is a picture of the mansion itself. I don’t think we went to Knoxville on this vacation, and even if we had, why would it have been on this page? We’re still in Missouri. So that’s a mystery.