What’s In A Name?


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).

Private Prop New Gate

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.

Red Cod

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.

Haunted House
Last known picture

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.

Scorpions Fort

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) !

Musky Joe

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.

Marty camping in the Himylayas, Northern India




12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nicole
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 15:20:06

    Hey Linda

    I enjoyed reading your latest blog about the ol’neighborhood. I knew most of the names but also learned a few things. The forts’ names,,,


  2. Robin Mellway
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 17:29:06

    don’t forget “Kemptvolians”! …and what do you mean the haunted house wasn’t actually haunted! Easy for someone to say who never tried entering it on a dark and stormy night…


  3. Robin Mellway
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 17:34:25

    And wow, those pictures on the Musky Joe page sure are awesome!! if I had known that’s what he was catching out there I would have waited for him at the boat launch and begged to tag along!


    • grammomsblog
      Sep 28, 2012 @ 17:37:05

      HAHAHA! Ya, who knew he had a website – I actually just discovered it today! He’s still coming here – I’ve seen his white truck plenty of times this summer.


  4. Dar
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 23:11:43

    Ah, a late night trip to the Haunted House followed up with a walk down the Road To Hell, always a favourite for the cousins. Good times.


  5. Fred Schueler
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 23:58:21

    …and, of course, there’s the rarely visited Auditory Station 22 – Canada: Ontario


  6. ceciliag
    Oct 05, 2012 @ 21:10:02

    Oh that is great, we get that too, our paddocks and sheds all have names and my kids are the same .. in fact they are often referred to by me as eg: Sophie whose name is Sopsta, or Logan whose name WAS Ben. So funny. My great aunt was called Mid but her real name was irene. but she was the daughter in the middle.. I loved this post.. so good, your kids and your family must have been vibrant and alive and bright.. I am sure you all had heaps of terrifying fun!! c


    • grammomsblog
      Oct 05, 2012 @ 21:59:00

      Funny about the name ‘changes’……
      and yes, my children and I always enjoy these places/people, as you can tell by their comments above (Robin & Dar) ……
      You are SO right about my family Celi !
      I appreciate your comments.


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