As I walk the dog through my new neighborhood I notice that many of the houses here have names. For example, The Rodriguez Retreat, Spoiled Coynes, C.C. on the Rocks, O’Hara’s on the Green, you get the idea. I’ve tried to think of an proper name for my house so I can get a sign made and attached to my post at the top of the drive. As with many things in Hemlock Farms, signs have to be a certain size, type, color, and must conform to published rules that govern such things. I have already flaunted the rules by purchasing blue tarps to cover my wood pile when the rule clearly states that tarps must be earth tones to blend in with the woods! I think my driveway is too steep for the Hemlock Farms maintenance people to check anyway. I could point to other infractions in the neighborhood. Rules against fake flowers or plastic eviscerated deer sitting on top of fence poles do not exist if my next door neighbor’s decorations are any indication, but I’m sure that there should be.
There aren’t any rules for names. One home down the street is NJERSTENS which I thought at first was derived from a Dutch name. Then I reasoned that it probably has something to do with being New Jersey-ers or something like that. Some of the homes are owned by multiple family members and the signs are a combination of two last names which makes them quite long. Many of the residents here are of Italian descent so imagine combining two or three last names that have many vowels! Right now I have a sign at the top of the hill that says “The Dixons.” Not terribly creative, but Adrian made it and we were very proud to have it. I wouldn’t take it down for anything, but I can hang another sign under it. My friend, Nancy, knows who to contact to get a proper sign that will not only conform to the rules but will include the Hemlock Farms trademark deer (kind of stick figure deer that I don’t understand but it grows on you!).
After living here for six months, it is time to name the place and get a sign, so I’ve settled on Poconos Scribbler. I think it says something about who lives inside and, because writing this blog has been so much fun and I’ve gotten so much positive feedback, I’m celebrating it through signage! My request is in. Someone’s friend’s husband makes them and charges $50 — well worth it to have a unique identity for my new home.
This morning I met a neighbor at the dog park. He is very nice as is his dog, Bandit, who apparently was the scourge of the community until he was adopted by Alan and his wife after the previous owners left him behind. There are two homes on our street that are in foreclosure and, according to Alan, “they left in the middle of the night.” It’s a pity because many of the homes are lovely and are being fixed up by new owners, so I’m hoping that the little red house (that is likely a mess inside) will be sold soon. It is a good feeling to begin to take pride in the community and my street.
Going through the thought processes of what things are important to me to create my new identity — as a retiree, returned Yankee, widow — is a brain exercise that I never really thought about when I planned the move north after 37 years in Tallahassee. I am not seeking anything in particular, rather trying to find my way with a life that is different from what I previously knew and one that provides me with the freedom to explore new avenues when opportunities present themselves. Part of my new life — and an identity that differs from what most of my friends are used to — is finding a name for the house. And…what’s to prevent me from changing it from time to time? From ordering multiple signs? If you have any suggestions, just let me know!