I’m writing Christmas…

I'm writing Christmas cards now, or at least assembling them. In years past, I wrote personal messages on each one, but that's far beyond me now. Maybe again someday. On the pre-printed return address labels, I have put the name of our house. Our house has a name! :-)

This is how I know Kevin loves me -- he let me name our house, even though I'm pretty sure he thinks it makes us look terribly pretentious. He is not in the least pretentious, poor boy, and will be forever tarred by my sins. Sadly, I am a bit pretentious, I'm afraid, or at the very least, an unrepentant Anglophile. Love me, love my flaws. And I do love naming things. Children, pets, characters, books.

Okay, sometimes naming books is a little frustrating. But when you finally find the right name, it's immensely satisfying.

I admit, I've been a little disappointed that our street name isn't that pleasing -- it's Wisconsin, which, you know, is a lovely state, but doesn't have any sort of resonant meaning for us. The meaning of Wisconsin is even obscure, it seems. It might mean 'red stone place', 'gathering of the waters', or 'great rock.' Perhaps. That's a bit vague.

My parents live on Reservoir Road, which conjures up images of a vast body of water, still and deep and full of reserves of strength and peace. Kevin's parents' house was on Prospect Avenue, high on the hilltop, looking out over the landscape with hope. The house we're renting now is on Home Ave., which is simple and charming. And two of the houses we tried to buy were on Grove and Elmwood, both nice. But Wisconsin? Sigh.

It is all made up for by giving our house a name, though. It's nothing official -- if I'm remembering right, the post office in America doesn't care if you name your house. (In England and Australia, I think you would register it officially, and it becomes part of your legal address.) I'm not sure anyone will ever use the name but me, on our return address labels. But if you do send me postal mail, please do feel free to include our house name. Or not -- whatever makes you happy. It'll get to us regardless. :-)

But what did we actually name it? Well, you may remember from our previous discussion that there were several names in contention (and suggested by readers). A few of them were:

  • Blueberry House
  • Iris House
  • Scilla House
  • Scylla and Charybdis (okay, not seriously)
  • Serendipity
  • Serendib House
  • Mathopoeic House
  • Elvenhome
  • Numbandum's Rest
  • Polymath House (funny!!)
In the end, Kevin picked Serendib House.

Serendib: one of the many names for Sri Lanka, Ceylon, Taprobane; an Arabic corruption of the Sanskrit compound Simhaladvipa, "Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island". Serendipity: n : accidental sagacity; the faculty of making fortunate discoveries of things you were not looking for; ref. Horace Walpole and the Persian tale, The Three Princes of Serendip

Which I think is perfect, really. First of all, there's a literary reference in the name! A fairy tale about three silly princes and a camel. How cool is that?

Secondly, the word 'sagacity' always makes me think of Rudyard Kipling, and the blue-suspendered sailor of 'infinite sagacity' in "How the Whale Got Its Throat." I teach an excerpt from that piece in my intro writing class. So that's really two literary references.

Thirdly, we didn't plan to buy this house at all. We'd tried to buy three other houses first, but kept getting stymied, by totally unexpected and bewildering obstacles. If I believed in fate, I'd almost feel that we'd been fated to find this house. And it was a bit of a mess when we found it, a sad foreclosed on home that had sat empty for years, longing for people to come and fill it. And now we're reshaping and fixing and brightening it up, so that in the end, I hope it will be something quite wonderful, and quite unlooked for. Absolutely serendipitous!

And finally, living in the dwelling place of lions is pretty cool. There's a lion on the Sri Lankan flag -- maybe I can find a stone one for the garden. Along with a few elephants, of course...

Mary Anne and Kevin
Kavya and Anand and Ellie
Serendib House
Oak Park

I like it.

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