It should be noted that I am sometimes down to earth and at other times terrifically pretentious. This will explain the next few paragraphs.
Two decades ago, I started trying to come up with a “name” for our home. In my defense, I come from a long line of homes with distinct and well-known names. My background is riddled with place names like Elmview or Highwinds.
In the extended family, we simply say the name of a property, and all involved know which family home we are speaking of. We even have had T-shirts printed with logos for both properties.
Our family reunions were named in honor of the Elmview property as well. Yes, we are THAT family.
I feel like all the best places have names. Gone with the Wind had Tara. Our own region has Stan Hywet Hall — a northeastern Ohio mansion of world renown. Frank Lloyd Wright gave us “Falling Waters.”
Being a huge nerd with literary leanings, I decided our home should have a (new) name too. Technically, it had a name among the natives of the area: “the Old Lewis Orchard.” It was so called because it was, try to follow this now, a former orchard run by a family named Lewis.
Never mind that the last Lewis left the farm in 1979; it was “the Old Lewis Orchard” right up to 20 years later and still to this day.
Over the years, I felt both honored to live in “the Old Lewis Orchard” and also kind of over it. I love the history of the place, but how long do we have to live here before it is “the Old Seabolt place?”
“Till we are dead, dear, until we are dead,” according to Mr. Wonderful.
Not willing to wait quite that long, I tried out things like “Rabbit Run Acres” due to our being overrun with rabbits and what we have termed the suicidal driveway bunnies who dart hither and fro. That just made us sound like we are raising rabbits which we are not — at least not intentionally.
Goat Hill? Sure it has a nice ring to it, and we do own two adorable goats, but I also worried about the obvious jokes about the old goats (us!) who lived there. Not willing to risk it, I decided to pass on that one.
Eventually, I gave up. I mean there are worse things than being known as “The Old Lewis Orchard.” My family tree even includes “Lewis” among the branches. There is no relation, but it was a fun coincidence nonetheless.
I gave up. We were just “the Old Lewis Orchard” to natives of a certain age and “the big white house on the hill” to most everyone else. The latter was a mouthful but it did help people find our place.
Then, long after I had given up on even giving a thought to having a name for our home sweet home, a delivery driver for Amazon pulled into our driveway, hopped out of his vehicle and said, brightly, “Is this Long Lane?”
“Excuse me?” I said.
“Is this Long Lane House?” he asked. “This package says it goes to Long Lane House. Is that you?”
It is always a good bet that a package is for us, and I hate to turn away delivery drivers who have come all the way up the drive, so I accepted it.
Upon closer inspection, the address was ours, and, yes indeed, the additional comments entered said “Long Lane House.”
That was my lightbulb moment. Our house sits far back off the road. Someone in Amazon delivery central had amended the address to help their drivers find us easily.
The addition was three simple words: “Long Lane House.” So simple. So brilliant. New.
Thus, Long Lane House is so christened. I played with “Long Lane Home” as a derivative, but I felt like it sounded like a particularly depressing 19th-century orphanage. I decided Amazon knows best.
They are marketing geniuses after all. Why question perfection? Long Lane House it is. That then is the story of how it took over two decades, but finally, after all that time, Amazon delivered on inadvertently naming our house.
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To us old timers it will always be the Old Lewis Orchard no matter what Amazon names it. Some habits are just too hard to break. Really enjoy reading your column.
I have always loved the history of my house. In modern times, it was simply The Mayor’s House but I wanted to go back to its roots so it’s Della Walker House again. A few friends suggested it should be renamed after me but, as you so aptly noted, we’re not dead, nor are we historic. Your columns always make me smile.