Watching the little ones return to school this month, I can’t help but think back to when I was in grade school. I loved almost everything about school with the exception of math, mainly because I am terrible with numbers.
My best (and favorite) subject was spelling, which is pretty convenient given my career choice—but also incredibly frustrating when I repeatedly see words misspelled around town. Here, then, are the 10 most important people, places and things every Northeast Florida resident should know how to spell.
• Mathews Bridge: The bridge which connects Arlington and Downtown was named for John E. Mathews, a Florida legislator 1956-1970. He spelled his name with one "t," and that's the way you should spell the name of the bridge. And he doesn't own it either, so leave the apostrophe out.
• Philips Highway: It's not totally your fault if you spell it with two "L's" since some street signs and maps are still spelled wrong due to an error made decades ago on a post office zone map. The family of Duval County Judge Henry Bethune Philips for whom the road was named have been fighting to get signs corrected for years, but some "double L" versions remain, which only confuses residents further.
• Prime Osborn Convention Center: Built in 1919 as a railroad station, the building was converted into a 265,000-square-foot convention center in the mid 1980s. It was named for Prime F. Osborn (no "E," thank you very much) III, former chairman of CSX.
• St. Johns River: The river does not belong to St. John, therefore, it does not need an apostrophe. Likewise, don't put one in St. Johns County, St. Johns Bluff, St. Johns River City Band or St. Johns Town Center.
• Lynyrd Skynyrd: There's really no logical explanation as to the spelling other than it's a bastardization of the name of some band members' high school gym teacher, Leonard Skinner, who gave long-haired male students a hard time. In other news, The Beatles couldn't spell either.
• Limp Bizkit: In the event that anyone still cares.
• Shahid "Shad" Khan: Here's an easy way to remember how to spell the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars name ... "'Khan' is a title given to rulers and officials in central Asia, Afghanistan and certain other Muslim countries"; "Kahn's" makes lunch meat and hotdogs.
• Jaxson de Ville: "Jaxson" like "son of Jax" and "de Ville" like "Cadillac de Ville." I don't know if that's the official explanation for the spelling, but it sounds good to me. You'd have to ask the "NFL's #1 Mascot" himself (or "itself" if he was neutered).
• Corrine Brown: The spelling of the U.S. congresswoman's first name is a variant of "Corinne," which is French for "maiden." If you're looking for the interior designer turned staff writer for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, that would be CORINNE Brown.
• The Specktator: Isn't it ironic (and not in an Alanis Morrisette kind of way) that a writer bragging about her spelling skills to the point of writing a blog post about it spells "spectator" wrong?