When my family moved out of Chicago in 1980, we ended up in Fort Worth, Texas. Like a typical kid who liked things the way they were, I was not happy about the move at all until I found out that we’d be living in the hotel my dad was just hired to manage for a bunch of months while mom and dad found a house for us.
My parents eventually decided to buy a home that was being newly constructed, something that was doubly exciting because not only would they be the first owners, but the home would be the first one they had ever purchased.
As thrilled as I was to be moving into a brand-new house that would include the benefit of my very own bedroom for the first time in six years, I was disgusted by the name of the street on which the house was located. It was one of the ugliest street names I had ever heard, and still can’t think about it without my nose crinkling up just a little bit.
Even after my mom told me that Shagbark was a type of tree and confirmed it was not just a name that was made up by some hateful person, I remained extremely disappointed that our house didn’t sit on any of the other delightfully named streets in the subdivision.
To add insult to injury, Shagbark was a Street.
It sounded so harsh, so…hard. Unwelcoming.
My eleven-year-old self wondered what the builders were thinking. Couldn’t they have used a gentler–and more desirable–name like “Shagbark Place” or “Shagbark Avenue”?
We only lived on Shagbark Street for about eighteen months before my dad got a new job in Tennessee and we had to move, but it stuck with me. It was during the time I lived on Shagbark Street when I began taking real notice of other street names and sought out ones that were interesting.
Cinnamon Court and Breezy Circle are two that have made me smile.
In Niles, Illinois, there are tons of streets that begin with the letter “O”. I laughed to myself every time we drove down Touhy Avenue to visit M in her condo because it seemed like whoever named the cross streets just opened up the dictionary and started writing down words from the section dedicated to the fifteenth letter of the alphabet.
Main Street in any town makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
I discovered my favorite so far the other day, when my sister and I were in the car together. The GPS was guiding us to our destination and one directive made me say, “HUH?”
It was telling me to turn right on “The Lane”.
“That can’t be right,” I said. “The WHAT Lane?”
It never occurred to me that The Lane could just be…The Lane.
After .7 miles I saw it for myself.
One hundred percent charming. I’d like to live there.