Monday, July 09, 2012

The Naming of Houses is a Difficult Matter . . .

"That's Barry's pond," said Matthew. 
"Oh, I don't like that name . . . I shall call it--let me see--the Lake of Shining Waters. Yes, that is the right name for it. I know because of the thrill. 
When I hit on a name that suits exactly it gives me a thrill."
Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

So, I've thought of a name for our new house!

Yes. A name. This house is the kind of house that NEEDS a name (if you've seen it in person, I hope you'll agree).

I've been in love with house names ever since I heard the words Green Gables. And the Anne books are just filled with other glorious home names: Echo Lodge, Patty's Place, Ingleside, Windy Poplars, House of Dreams. It's hard to choose which is my favorite home name among those. Just at the moment Windy Poplars is my favorite, but it's certain to change.

Other great house names: Pemberley, Windy Corner, Amarna, The Burrow, Little House (in the Big Woods or on the Prairie, etc.). Each name says something about the home and its inhabitants.

There's even another home with a name here in our neighborhood, though I haven't met the people who live there yet. Their house is Singing Trees. Isn't that awesome?

I had quite a bit of fun picking out a name for our cabin in North Georgia: Mountain Serenity. Here, I went for a fairly obvious-sounding kind of name, but it's not too Diana Barry-ish (meaning, boring and plain). I picked Serenity because we had just discovered Firefly around the time we bought the cabin, and it seemed fitting in a couple of ways.

This house, this new house, well . . . I knew I would name it, but it turned out to be a much more difficult task than I thought it would be. It took me about 20 minutes to think up Mountain Serenity, but about six months to come up with this home's name.

Before I tell you what it is, let me explain a couple of the requirements.

  • First, and probably foremost, the name had to be a name that I think Anne Shirley or Lucy Maud Montgomery might reasonably have approved of. This is EXTREMELY important, as I am sure all of you kindred spirits will understand. I love Diana Barry for her loyalty and kindness, but I needed a non-Diana Barry kind of name for the house.
  • The name needs to reflect both the home and its inhabitants--or else this whole naming business just seems very silly. 
  • Finally, a non-necessity but a really nice-to-have, some kind of tie-in to Firefly, so that both homes we love the best have some kind of link. 

I finally hit on the perfect name a week or so ago, and I knew it was a great name because I got that thrill Anne was talking about. I ran it by Brendan (who honestly had no clue I was trying to name the house, let alone had put forth this much effort into the endeavor), tried it out with some friends and the kids, and I do think it will stick.

The name is Wildhaven.

It suits exactly. I think it captures the home, in the sense that it is nestled in among the trees, which feels very haven-y to me. And of course the home itself is our haven from the rest of the world. As all homes ought to be, I think. At the same time, it's kind of wild around here--the yard, the lot, the animals who keep visiting us.

And it also captures our family, how we are all each other's haven (as all families ought to be, I think). We are also a bit wild ourselves, especially the younger folks. We are loud and noisy and not at all tidy, and we love to have adventures.

So in this apparently contradictory name, we've got both the home and our family. Wildhaven. And I know it might be more than arrogant, but I do think Anne would approve of the name, too. :)

Oh, and we even got our Firefly tie-in. Haven is the name of the moon Shepherd Book was from, and the whole crew goes to visit Haven in the movie Serenity. I love that first scene on Haven, where the crew is welcomed by their friends, by people who obviously know them and love them well. (Let's try not to dwell on the fact that there was a tragedy there later. Happily there are no Reavers in this part of Georgia, so I am confident we'll escape the fate of Haven's residents.)

A nice side effect of having a name for the house is that we have an automatic name for the homeschool, too. I've been trying to name THAT for about five years now, and nothing has ever seemed satisfactory. (We don't need a name for the homeschool, it's just fun. And convenient when filling out educator discount forms for stores like Barnes & Noble.) So now we can go with Wildhaven Academy or whatever we decide suits us exactly. I still need to discuss that with the kids before we settle on a name for the homeschool. I think they need to be in on that decision.

We're on a Harry Potter kick around here lately, and Morgan and Sean have been pretending to be Hedwig and Pigwidgeon, delivering Owl Post to us and our guests. The other night, they wrote and delivered letters that were addressed like this:

Brown Chair,
Family Room, 


Porch Swing,
Back Porch

Isn't that lovely? It was that night that I knew the name really, truly suited exactly and would stick forever!

Anyway, Wildhaven, that's our house! Oh! And I named our bar, too: The Sidecar Bar. So I guess the full name is Wildhaven, Home of the Sidecar Bar. Which. I. Adore.

This post has been brought to you by a fierce love of my family, our new house, Anne Shirley, all homes that have a name, and Firefly. And lots and lots of procrastination.


Earl3d said...

I almost just got a little tear in my eye there at the end!

Here's to many, many happy years at Wildhaven!

Staef said...

Grats to the name, and house!

Just found your blog and it immediately raised up my prio list!

Keep up the good work.

/Swede in NZ

Lynne said...

Absolutely perfect!

Diana Hsieh said...

I love it!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Mazel tov now that the home buying adventure--also a bit wild, I'd say--has come to an end and you have found a name. It took us more than a year to name Freedom Ridge Ranch, and that naming was quite the adventure. Anyway, here's to many a happy (and wild!) time in your heart's haven!