What's in a Name?

From Thomas Jefferson's Monticello to Ronald Reagan's Rancho del Cielo to Bilbo Baggins' Bag End, I have always been fascinated by homes with names.

I have always liked the idea of a home being so deliciously different from all others that it needs a name of its own. 

But how does one go about deciding on a name for a home?

And what, if anything, would I name my own home?

So I started a quest....

We live on a hill. With no one in front of us and no one behind us. Maybe we could somehow incorporate the hill into the name. But seriously, Hill House has waaay too many horror movie connotations for me.

My BFF, Pam suggested I name it Fiesta House or Casa de Fiesta, because of my love for bright colors and my collection of Fiesta dishes.

Frankly, I thought it sounded a little too Mexican.

Eric (with the English roots) suggested Darby Manor, but that sounded a little too regal for our little picket-fenced cottage. 

And so it went....

I spent months thinking about this. Not like 24/7-obsessively-thinking, but every now and then the idea would present itself and I would try to come up with the ever-elusive house name.

Then we went to Cuba Nostalgia.

And we (Amy, Adam and I) encountered The Giant Map of Havana. My hometown.

From the dusty archives of my brain, a memory popped up....

"Look for the bend in the Almendares River," I instructed the kids. "On the northeast side is a street called Avenida de La Loma. That's where we lived."


We quickly found the spot.

Almendares river 

It's amazing how the memory works.

I had only lived in that house in Havana for about a year when I was five years old. But so many details, like snapshots, quickly came back to me.

The house on Avenida de La Loma was actually two houses - one in front, one in back - joined together by a courtyard. It was brand new when we moved in and my dad had paid $20,000 in cash for it. (I know this because that became a part of the Story of the House, but that's not important right now.)

The kitchen cabinets were painted in Fiesta colors. There was a long hallway upstairs with my sister's roll-top desk at the end. I remember the doorway to the "house in the back," and the mosquito nets in the summer.

Snap shots.

The dark wooden floors. The shutters on the windows. The large window that my parents had installed so we could look down on the courtyard, but not be tempted to dive off.

Just snap shots. But we loved that house. We lived and ate and had parties and played there. We got ready for school there each day, and I lost my first tooth there. (Please read about my daughter's recent visit to that very same house. Bring tissues.)

When we left Cuba in early 1961, my parents locked the door, handed the key to some friends, and walked away. For any of you still confused about what happened in Cuba. The dictatorship CONFISCATED everyone's property. (Any questions? No? Let's continue...)

I found the house easily (based on its geographic location in relationship to the bend in the Almendares River) on Google Earth. (See the yellow tag?)

Screen shot 2010-04-08 at 11.28.38 AM 

Then Amy Kikita had an extremely inspired brainstorm. "I have a perfect name for our house."


So....when you hear the song, Son de la Loma....think of us. ;-)

Genius. What do you think?