(NOTE: I wrote this two or three years ago for the City Guide in Winston-Salem, N.C.)
ON THE (FORSYTH COUNTY) ROADS AGAIN
By Tom Gillispie
Joe Everyman here again. Good to see ya.
Don’t slam the doors, and please don’t forget to fasten your seatbelts. And hang onto your hats; I drive as fast as I talk.
I don’t know if you pay attention to the names of streets, but I do. When I drive around Forsyth County in general or Winston-Salem in particular, I keep track.
I see people’s names, like Karen Gene Lane, Al Sprinkle Avenue, Katies Crossing, Amanda Place, Sally Kirk Road, Allen Easley Street, Barbara Jane Circle and Alexander Preston Lane.
Look at that place, Brewer Gardens Circle. I wonder how it got its name. Bridlespur Court makes me think there ought to be a horse barn or two there. And what about Autoserve Lane? What brought that on? Same with Todays Woman. Sounds like a magazine.
But where is Forty-Foot Road 40 feet from? If that makes sense? Whippoorwill is OK, but where does Whippers-In come from. And what about Dixie Broadway?
There are a bunch of Brooks, such as Brookbend, Brookberry, Brookberry Farm road and circle, Brookcrest, Brookdale Ridge, Brookline — that’s downtown — plus, Brookmeade, Brookmere, Brookmont… Well, you get the idea.
I wonder what Brook means to all of the folks around here. They have a few Bucks, like Buck Chase, Buckeye, Buckhaven, Buckhead and Buckhorn, plus Buckingham and Buckingham Place, but they’re way more into Brooks than Bucks.
You’ll find some roads that start with Old and Olde; they’ve been there awhile.
Winston-Salem has a Shenandoah, a Shamrock and a Donny Brook; makes me feel right at home.
Triad Court has a homey sound to it.
There are trees and plants all over the place, like Riley Forest, Tulip, Barry Oak, Crepe Myrtle and Blue Fern, plus Burning Tree. There are cars like Ford and Cadillac.
Beacon Hill Court, hey, Beacon Hill is a famous neighborhood in Boston, Mass. You never heard of it? You can look it up.
There’s a full section of war streets. Drawbridge and Gauntlet, for instance, have a medieval military sound, and Spyglass brings up war.
Merrimac and Monitor streets have an underwater/Civil War sound to them. And Trafalgar sounds familiar.
I’ve found streets that made me think of the Civil War — Appomattox, Vicksburg, Antietem and Chancellorsville, to name four — plus Burgoyne and Cornwallis were generals around the time of the Revolutionary War. And Monticello, Mount Vernon, Williamsburg, Revere and Retreat all make me think of revolutionary times.
I didn’t, however, find a General Lee or a Stonewall Jackson.
At least one street, Argonne, dredges up WWI. Why? There was a Battle of Argonne Forest in France in 1918, from Sept. 26 to Nov. 11, that claimed 117,000 Americans, 70,000 Frenchmen and 100,000 Germans. Sad.
And I found Roosevelt Street, Eisenhower Road and MacArthur Street, plus Pershing Avenue, Taft Street, Van Buren Street, Westmoreland, Whittier Street and Tipperary. What’s about Tipperary? The British sang “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” during WW1.
Continental and Congress, yes, they make me think of the Revolutionary War. For some reason, so does Potomac.
Capistrano sounds familiar. They call it the Miracle of the Swallows of Capistrano? I didn’t know that. I’ll have to look it up.
Kinnamon rhymes with my favorite condiment, and there’s a Turmeric.
Among these streets are movie and TV stars like Humphrey and Bogart, Nicholson, Gleason, Gossett, Harmon and Gaynor, plus a spaceship named Enterprise and a captain named Kirk. Bond Street, well, that’s obvious. That street is shaken AND stirred. Heathcliff could be a character in a book, and Exeter sounds like a character out of the TV show Mork and Mindy. There are Mayberry and Griffith, plus Sanford. And Green Acres, hey, I loved Eva Gabor as a kid.
There are Hondo, Stella and Reba, and I wonder what Jasper Memory is all about.
John Wesley has a hard ring to it, and I wonder if anyone lives at 23 Jordan Drive. Lindbergh came along before my time, but I remember stories. Loch Lomond has a musical sound to it; same with Fiddlers Knoll, Ludwig, Mozart and Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love to Town).
We have literature with Longfellow, Hemingway, Whitman and Standish, and Allistair Road makes me think of novelist Alistair MacLean — I love The Guns of Navarone. Twain, Huckleberry and Sawyer have literary rings to them. Same with Ivanhoe and Limerick. And Hemlock? Socrates, of course.
I found at least two Christmas streets, Noel and Excelsior.
We have math with Euclid and religion with Franciscan, plus mythical stories with King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Robin, Robinhood, Little John, Locksley (Robin of Locksley), Will Scarlet, Nottingham and Friar Tuck. You’ll even find a Sherwood, a Sherwood Forest and a Sherwood Hills. And, for some reason, Silver Chalice seems to continue that theme.
Jamestown is familiar to most of us over 18.
We also have education with Harvard Road and insurance with Nationwide, Hartford and Lynch. Plus there’s food with Fries and Gyro.
Some streets sound like sports venues to me, like Rugby, Ballpark Way, Coliseum, Coachford, Oriole Lane, Deacon Boulevard, Piazza Drive, Wimbledon Drive, Talladega Court, Collegian Trail, Pitcher Court and Campus Lane. Brickyard is a nickname for Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And there’s a Big House Gaines Boulevard, named for the former Winston-Salem State basketball coach.
Martin Luther King Drive is pretty well known. It’s fairly near both downtown and U.S. 52. You’ll find a bunch of streets that start with Salem; no surprise there.
Utica and Utopia sound like opposites.
There’s an N.C. 66, but it’s no Route 66.
Gramercy Park sounds familiar for some reason. In New York, you say? So do Granada, Greenwich and Harpers Ferry. Nantucket might be a nice place to fish. And Navajo, Cheyenne, Yuma, Dublin, Danube and New Delhi make me think of places far away from here.
I found at least one scotch, Cutty Sark, and Dog Leg Drive makes me think of my dog Lady. Chippendale dredges up an image, as does Columbine.
Also, I like Fondly, Fun Time, Good Hope, Friendly Acres and Friendship; can’t help it. Same with Horn-Of-Plenty and Serenity.
My other favorite streets are Leisure, Lazy and Lazyboy, plus Opportunity. And I really like Sugar Maple, Sugarcane and Sugarcreek. Sweet.
Sure, there are roads like Belews Creek Road — yes, there’s a Belews Creek. There’s a Baux Mountain Road, with no mountain nearby, plus a bunch of Bethabaras, Bethanias and ones that start with Sedge. There’s Interstate 40, Business 40, Stratford Road, Country Club Road, Peace Haven, University Parkway, Reynolda Road, Marshall and Cherry streets, Shattalon, North Point, Northwest, Clemmonsville and more. You’ll learn most of them.
Hey, here’s the stopping point; time to drop you off.
It’s been great talking and riding with you. And please don’t slam the doors on your way out.
HEY, the next time we see each other, you guys need to talk more.
More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
• Advice for be and would-be novelists
Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie
Entries from The Dog Blog
Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)