Manderley, Pemberley, Twelve Oaks…Fictional houses (or more likely estates) have names. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” is one of the best opening lines from a novel (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier) in my opinion. Part of what makes that book so great is the personality of the home. Mr. Darcy has Pemberley and Ashley Wilkes has Twelve Oaks. People in fiction live in houses with character, full of characters, and I think some of it has to do with names.
Real people live in houses with names too, though they tend to be more of the Martha Stewart variety (her home, Cantitoe Corners, not only has a name (albeit less poetic than Manderley) but also a sycamore tree as her motif). I think it is safe to say that most houses don’t have names, let alone motifs, and I think that is a shame. Why should only the rich, those living on estates and with multiple places to call home get the fun of naming their house? Why is a rambler or split level or condo any less worthy of a moniker? Probably because we the owners feel silly calling our home by a proper name. There seems to be something pretentious, something fictional in calling a house by a name, right? Maybe that is because the only houses we know of with names are either fictional or belong to people who might have a reputation of being a bit…well…pretentious. (Sorry, Martha, but you know it is true.)
And I say again that is too bad. For all that our homes do for us and mean to us, you’d think they’d rate something better than “the house” when we talk about them. Even cars often get names from their owners, but houses not so much. Well, why not buck the trend and find a name that really suits your place. You could go hog wild and pick out a motif and fix up some notepads in Print Shop – something goofy or silly or even serious.
Why on earth would I do that, I hear you saying, you curmudgeon you. And I respond with Why ever not? Lord knows the rich get to have enough fun as it is; we of the more modest incomes can have some freebie fun ourselves. Besides, with hard times showing us all just how important our homes are, making them just a bit more personal and a bit more welcoming is no bad thing. And just to help you out, here’s a little list of names you can freely claim as your own (I’ll tell you my choice at the end):
Dorothy (there is no place like…)
Hatfield (or McCoy)
Bedlam (sometimes that’s the only name that fits)
Bag End (or insert your favorite literary reference)
Falcon Crest (or whatever 80s TV show floats your boat)
Me, I’m leaning toward Fanny. My house has a great fan window over the front door, but beyond that the name just makes me think of baskets of yarn, a fat kitty, books everywhere and a few cookies tucked away, just in case. That about sums up the house perfectly.