Name your House, and Write her Story
November 10, 2019
I do not remember when I first realized that some people name their houses. I imagine I discovered this in a book – probably around third grade or so. I certainly don’t recall anyone that I knew actually living in a house with a name, so it had to have been found in children’s literature.
Hmmm……. which book would that have been? Pooh had the House at Pooh Corner, and Toad lived in Toad Hall…………. I just don’t think the idea caught on for me until I started reading novels with people as the main characters.
Green Gables, home of Anne the incorrigible heroine, as well as Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, was most likely the first home with a name that I fell for – hard. I knew that if I could live there, life would be idyllic every day for the rest of my life. I still, to this day, have a warm spot in my heart for white farm houses with green roofs, gables, and shutters.
Pippi Longstocking lived in her crazy Villa Villekuva, but I wasn’t charmed for whatever reason. However, the girls from Little Women lived in Orchard House which I thought was the epitome of the kind of home that I would one day want to call my own. Looking up the author, Louisa May Alcott, (in the library!) I was thrilled to find that it was the actual name of her own home. Adding to that fact was the photo of the salt box style house that is still standing today. At this point, would anyone be surprised to know that I am currently living in the second salt box of my home owning history?
Somewhere around fifth grade I started reading novels where the houses appeared as characters. I was enthralled with Misselthwaite Manor in The Secret Garden. I just had to read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson after I watched the movie (on Creature Feature….. my parents were out, and my brother let me watch!), and then, of course, there was Daphne du Maurier’s classic Rebecca, where the home, Manderley, takes center stage in the very first line of the novel.
Some homes were known by their addresses, like 221B Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes lived. The Banks children lived at 17 Cherry Tree Lane where Mary Poppins came to change their lives. All of this lead me to believe that it was practically a rule in England that you had to name your house or refer to it, always, by address! I came up with the craziest ideas, but what I knew, for sure, was that someday I would live in the kind of house that deserved a name.
It wouldn’t have to be grand, like Twelve Oaks or Tara in Gone with the Wind, and it wouldn’t have to be perched on a cliff on the sea or a moor in England, like Pemberley, Wuthering Heights, or Thornfield Hall. It would just have to HAVE character to BE a character in its own story.
One of the many things that I love about Door County is that people take the time and effort to name their homes. I find this so satisfying, so charming, so endearing……. the list for how it makes me feel is endless, and it is all good. I absolutely love that we consider our homes to be a member of our family, and, that being a fact – not a notion – moves us to choose the names of our homes with care. It can truly be thought provoking to find just the right name……….
Have you ever thought about naming your home? Does it already have a name? What does it mean to you? What does it mean to your family? Mark Twain wrote that his house “had a heart, and a soul……….it was of us, and we were in it’s confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out its eloquent welcome – and we could not enter her unmoved.”
What a lovely way to feel about the place that gives you and your family and friends not only shelter, but wraps you all in the greatest of hugs, dances with you, consoles you, and accepts you for who you are without judgement every day of your life!
If you haven’t already, consider naming your house so that she can be a home. Work on building her character…… spruce her up, if needed. Renovate, remodel, and listen to what she needs to be the sanctuary for you and your family. Let her shine. If you help to write her story, she will return the favor 100 fold. Allow her to be the character that she is meant to be in the story that will belong to both of you forever. You won’t believe the magic that will come your way!