I found her!
She lives in Little Rock, Ark., and was in town over the summer.
She enjoyed our city but was highly disappointed with one aspect of her visit: a lack of souvenirs.
The woman mailed me a letter, written by hand on a little yellow piece of lined paper.
“There used to be postcards of the blimp and hangar,” wrote Sheryll Sehika. “But try as hard as we did, none could be found. Wanted to bring some home to Little Rock for my 10 co-workers. No magnets and/or key chains.
“Did find a Quaker Square magnet and an Akron coffee mug, but not much else. Where does one go in Akron to find such items? I can’t be the only tourist with this problem.”
Well, Sheryll, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you are, in fact, the only tourist with this problem.
At least you’re the only one I’ve encountered during my 27 years in Akron.
However, as the newly minted Director of Positive Publicity for Unfairly Maligned Greater Akron, I embarked on a mission to make your dreams come true. Who knows? You might be able to convert one of those co-workers into a second Akron tourist.
For souvenirs with an attitude, you could have headed directly to Rubber City Clothing, a little shop that sits half a block north of the Akron Art Museum.
The top-selling shirt: “Akron — Where the weak are killed and eaten.”
Another funny shirt displays the University of Akron’s kangaroo with the words, “Harvard on the Cuyahoga.”
Or if you’re in the market for something hyper-local, you could grab a shirt reading: “the North Hill” or “Barbertucky.”
As for the postcards you wanted, I bought you six of them: the Towpath Trail in autumn, a scene from First Night, Lock 3 Park during a free concert, Lock 3 Park when the skating rink is set up, a Soap Box Derby race and the inside of the Akron Civic Theatre.
I’ll leave it to you to figure out which co-worker should get which postcard.
RCC also stocks your buttons, some devoted solely to numbers that only a local could love: “8” (the interstate) and “330” (the area code).
I also bought you an item that no tourist should be without: blimp erasers.
Nor could you go wrong with an inflatable Goodyear blimp. They come in two sizes these days, the 12-inch model ($5) and the 33-inch version ($12).
People on a tight blimp budget might want to shop at the home of the blimp. Goodyear’s gift shop sells the same inflatables for a mere $2.30 and $3.45.
However, you’ll pay a different kind of price at Goodyear’s store: The company treats its visitors like tourists from Mars.
Just to get inside the gift shop, you have to stop at the front desk, show your driver’s license and pose for a photograph. And you’re not allowed to carry a cell phone with a camera.
(Just imagine what could happen if the Chinese got a hold of the blueprints for a 33-inch inflatable blimp.)
Oddly, Goodyear’s gift shop doesn’t have a single postcard of the blimp — or of anything else, for that matter — and has surprisingly few knickknacks with blimps on them.
But you could have scored a Goodyear key chain or luggage tag.
If you insist on a blimp postcard, rather than the greeting card with four blimps I bought you at Rubber City Clothing, the only ones I could find were in the gift shop of the John S. Knight convention center. That’s also where I bought you a refrigerator magnet in the shape of Ohio with “akron” across it in funky type.
Sad to say, souvenir-hunters aren’t exactly wearing out the JSK gift shop: It is closed 24/7 unless you walk down the hall and knock on the door of the main office, in which case they’ll track down the key and let you in.
Finally, Sheryll, even though you didn’t request one, no tourism gift box would be complete without an Akron Beacon Journal ball cap. So one of those is winging its way to Arkansas, too.
Enjoy your fall, winter and spring, Sheryll, and please come back to see us next year during the height of our tourist season.
Which is pretty much whenever you show up.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com.