We’re a family of pseudonyms. It seems that everyone at sometime or another has created another name for something already named, especially around our neighbourhood. I think most of my readers who know us will be able to relate to this post and enjoy reminiscing …… Let me give you a few examples:
Private Prop – Probably the most familiar name amongst my kids and their friends. Private Prop is the name my children gave to the vacant acreage down the road from us. A “Private Property” sign was nailed to the gate at the entrance 30 years ago so it just became Private Prop, for short. And it still is …… It has a popular swamp that my kids still like to fish in which is also home to a colony of beavers. Many neighbourhood kids have spent hours at Private Prop (with the owner’s permission).
Red Cods – Right beside our property, there used to be a little red cottage. Hence it was re-named the Red Cod and it’s owners (an elderly couple from the city) were the Red Cods. They were very peculiar or maybe they were just a quiet old couple who were somewhat intimidated by my large family…….. I won’t even begin to tell you some of the stories about how my kids made life miserable for those poor people ( ie. mailbox, Rob and Darin??). Maybe another post.
The Haunted House – Well this place wasn’t actually haunted, but to growing young boys it became a symbol of terrifying spookiness. This dilapidated old cottage reminded me of the Wizard of Oz house that fell on the wicked witch – sorely neglected and forgotten by its owners….. but memorialized by my children and their neighbourhood friends. This small, square cottage sat along the river just at the edge of our neighbourhood. According to my younger kids, the interior had holes in the floor where the dead bodies went. lol I’d like my grown kids to comment on some of their ‘activities’ at that place, only some of which I’ve been privy to. Sadly, the Haunted House burned to the ground mysteriously one October a few years ago – long after my young boys had grown up and moved away from home, BTW.
Scorpions, Warriors, and the Road to Hell – I’m not exactly sure what the ‘Road to Hell’ is but Scorpions and Warriors were/are forts in the forests that my children established many moons ago. Scorpions was Robin and Geoff’s fort made of scrap wood and corrugated steel – I’m pretty sure remnants of it can still be found in that untouched forest. Warriors is a ‘family fort’ only for members of our family. It’s within hiking distance from home, around the swamp on the other side of Private Prop…… apparently nobody else knows where Warriors is and never goes there….. I understand that there used to be some kind of ‘initiation’………. but now my grandchildren have gone their with their Dad, Darin, who started Warriors a long, long, time ago.
Stomach Ache Hill – We named this road going out of town because it rose up over the train tracks and if you went at a certain speed and then took your foot off the gas to just coast over the crest, you’d feel a stomach twinge like a fast roller coaster. I think Kristi named it the Stomach Ache Hill.
Puddle Alley – This neighbourhood road is actually the one you turn off of the main road to get to our house. I learned this from an old-timer who was hired by the township to collect dog tag fees about 30 years ago – he must have been 90 because it took him about 8 minutes to get out of his car and shuffle to the front door…… He told me that this road was nick-named as such because every spring it used to flood and hence became a great big puddle alley of a road.
The Mulls – our neighbours of 25+ years ……. and my best friends. We have alot of history together: My kids secretly raided their ‘magic garden’ one summer and completely cleaned them out; their dog chased and bit Taylor while he was biking and they were mortified; I saved their dog once when she became entangled in her tied-out rope, in the hot sun…… you know, neighbourly stuff.
The Rugrats – These children (Zech, Garrett, and Patrick) used to live in our neighbourhood and are friends of Melvin and Nellie’s. My husband, Chris, named them the Rugrats many years ago when they used to play at our house……….. alot.
Musky Joe – This New Yorker has been coming to our neighbourhood to fish the great Musky of the Rideau River, for as long as I’ve lived here. He is a ‘guide’ of sorts and brings other fishermen for a day of fishing. One time almost 30 years ago, he and his buddies decided to try to catch frogs in our ditches to use as bait…… but my kids had other ideas. And Musky Joe never combed our ditches for frogs again. We know for a fact that his name is really Musky Joe because his New York license plate says “Musky Joe”…….. and it turns out that Musky Joe even has a website too (www.muskyjoe.com) !
The Ronster – Most people in the surrounding 25 kms know the Ronster. That’s not his real name and I won’t divulge it …….but it’s what we always affectionately called him. He’s a redneck, of sorts: he is known to be a real party-animal, a defender of his land (when he chased a lawyer with an axe during a disagreement or when the kids tried to cut through his land), and a genuinely nice person.
My daughter Nellie’s name isn’t officially Nellie but I intended her to be called Nellie after my Mom. And my son Marty is not really Marty…….officially. He was named Benjamin Leigh at birth and I called him that . BUT his siblings has other ideas: they thought he was just an amazing little person so he should have their hero’s name – Marty McFly in the Back to the Future movie. They called him Marty from a few weeks old and I tried, I really tried, to call him Ben but I couldn’t win – there were more of them than me so I conceded after a few months and began calling him Marty too. I can’t imagine him being anyone else but Marty now.