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My Step-By-Step Investigation Into Why My Name Is In This Children’s Book

With a surname like Jakusz, you don’t really see it out in the wild too often.

Imagine my surprise when my wife’s aunt send me the photo above! My last name, illustrated on a store front in the book The Travel Game by John Grandits.

She explained that it’s from a children’s book she picked up at the library to read to her daughter. Well that’s random as hell!

Obviously, I needed to learn more.

My first Google search was the book’s title, which took me to the Amazon.com page where I could buy the book (obviously). It also had this description:

Tad and his aunt Hattie take an imaginary trip to Hong Kong.

Armed with a globe, an illustrated almanac, and their imaginations, Tad and Aunt Hattie play the travel game. They ride elephants in India, escape deadly piranhas in the Amazon River, and hail a water taxi to visit the beautiful boat city of Hong Kong—all without leaving the apartment above the family tailor shop in Buffalo, New York. This funny, affectionate story is based on author John Grandits’s own childhood experiences. The charming and highly detailed illustrations will keep children entranced through multiple readings and encourage them to play their own version of the travel game.

Buffalo, New York, you say? I know that Buffalo has a HUGE Polish population, so it’s starting to make sense now.

So then I Googled “A.E. Jakusz company Buffalo NY”

That took me to a blog post at TheAmPolEagle.com by Michelle Fritz where she wrote a piece about the local author and his book. In this article, she explained:

Writer John Grandits remembers growing up at 857 Broadway
in the City of Buffalo above his grandfather’s tailor shop, A.E. Jakusz.

Grandits remembers growing up above A.E. Jakusz, a popular tailor and suit shop until the 1960s

That’s mystery solved in my book (haha, see what I did there?)!

There’s nothing shocking about a Jakusz living in Buffalo, NY, a city with a large Polish population.

It is really random though that the owner of the A.E. Jakusz tailor shop in Buffalo, NY in the 1960s had a grandson who wrote a children’s book in 2019 that used that surname that ended up in a library in Tinley Park, IL that was picked up by the aunt of the wife of another Jakusz a decade later.

MIND. BLOWN.

I would love to know more about the Jakusz who’s name is on that sign, though. Possible relative? Who knows!

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