You can call mine Mortgage Manor

  • Diane Sylvain
 

Lupine Lodge. Del Mar at the Sea. Massive Mountain Manor. Harbor House at the Pines. I have changed the names to protect the ostentatious; to protect those who not only must own four luxury homes in four different places, but also pick and register names for them.

I didn't think I was capable of being surprised at any excess of the rich and insecure, but the article in the Phoenix, Ariz., paper rocked me.

A gentleman in that city has incorporated a national database of homesite names. Once your lodge or manor or 8,000 square feet of conspicuous wastefulness is registered, no one in your ZIP code area can use the name. Thank goodness: I've been worried somebody would give their house the same name as mine: Sagging Floor at What's Left of Old Flagstaff.

Lupine Lodge, Del Mar at the Sea, ad infinitum, are all owned by a Phoenix family physician, who explains his names give each of his homes character * though, he tells us, there aren't really any lupine at his Scottsdale, Ariz., home because it's too hot.

He bought the initial package for 75 bucks per house, which included name registry, name search, official certificate, Web site updates * and welcome candle. (Better to curse the darkness than light even one registered home welcome candle in a state without adequate medical care for the poor.) There is also a catalog from which one can order extra items, perhaps a plaque, or imprinted coffee mug.

If registrants can't come up with a name, the registry will provide suggestions, inspired by geographical cues, architectural style, presence of natural features and wildlife - in case the registrant has been just too darn busy making millions, or whatever these people do, to notice. (Of course, in the Nouveau West, what we are more often dealing with is the absence of natural features and/or wildlife.) In that case, the registrant could name their place Hideaway at Scraped Desert.

The CEO of the registry believes that people take a different attitude toward their homes when they give them names. That's the fun of it. And, you don't have to own a mansion. Heck, you can register a condo - or even a tract house. He's hoping that the practice of registering home names might contribute to more neighborhood spirit - spirit difficult to sense or enhance if you occupy your second, third or fourth home only a few weekends out of the year.

I looked around my 400 square-foot cabin here at What's Left of Old Flagstaff, at its fine minimal construction of recycled wood and wallboard, and found myself regarding the sagging floor and the plastic over the east window with greater affection.

I thought of names for my son's home in Los Angeles: Struggling Screenwriter Single Room, and for a working mom friend's one-bedroom house: Mortgage Manor. I thought about calling the registry CEO with the brilliant idea of registering the homes of those of us a little less fortunate, and realized none of us had a spare 75 bucks for the fee.

Then, of course, there are those who have nothing to spare for anything. They could still name their homes. Tarpaper Shack at the Dump. Soggy Box Bungalow. Abandoned Chevy Pickup. Immobile Mobile. Maybe a Web site could be maintained for them. They would be given a nice certificate and maybe a candle for freezing nights. A name search would be impossible - there are millions of homeless.

So, if you think you want to name your home and register it, here's an alternative: You might get ready to give up 75 bucks. You'll get nothing back. No certificate. No faux-bronze plaque. No 10-buck candle. Instead, send the money to a local shelter, or food bank, or winter-clothing distribution service - whose shelves, in this most recent Season of Giving, were probably much too bare.

Your reward will be a fine way to name where you live. To name yourself. As a person in a real community, where people do not name their houses, but understand true neighborliness.

Mary Sojourner writes in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Copyright © 2002 HCN and Mary Sojourner

Note: the opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of High Country News, its board or staff. If you'd like to share an opinion piece of your own, please write Betsy Marston at [email protected].

High Country News Classifieds
  • PROGRAM MANAGER, SUSTAINING FLOWS
    Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - VERDE RIVER EXCHANGE
    Verde River Exchange - Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • CODE COMPLIANCE OFFICER
    Teton County Planning & Building is hiring! Our ideal candidate is a team-player, a problem-solver, pays attention to detail, and can clearly communicate technical material...
  • ARCHITECTURE DRAFTSPERSON/PROJECT MANAGER
    Studio Architects is seeking a full time Architectural drafts-person/project manager with1-3 years of experience to join our firm. At Studio Architects our mission is to...
  • ASSISTANT MANAGER/TRAINEE, COLORADO RANCH
    needed for 16,000+ acre conservation property in south central Colorado. Qualified candidate would have experience working on a ranch or wilderness property, general forestry/fire management...
  • FARM HAND &/OR NANNY IN ESCALANTE
    Nanny for 18-mnth-old. Yearly salary, vacation, health insurance. Spanish/other foreign-language native spkr prefrrd.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Washington Association of Land Trusts seeks an ED to build on WALTs significant success & to lead the association to new levels of achievement. See...
  • BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM STRAWBALE HOME IN WESTERN COLORADO!
    Secluded, energy efficient Southwestern home on 40 wooded acres. Broker - Rand Porter - United Country Real Colorado Properties. 970-261-1248, $425K
  • PUBLIC LANDS ORGANIZER
    The Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and assisting individuals and organizations to value, conserve, enhance, manage, and protect...
  • FORMER RETREAT CENTER/CONSERVATION PROPERTY FOR SALE
    57 acres in Skull Valley, AZ, 17 miles from Prescott, year-round creek, swimming holes, secluded canyon, hiking/meditation trails, oaks, pines, garden, greenhouse. House, office building,...
  • ARIZONA PUBLIC LANDS ORGANIZER
    Title: Public Lands Organizer About the Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF) The AWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and assisting individuals and organizations...
  • HISTORIC RANCH HOME W/ 20 ACRES
    Historic 1893 Ranch Headquarters. 4 Bdrm, 3.5 Ba, 4000 ft2. Remodeled 2002. Includes 2 studio apts, stables, arena, workshop, 5 RV hookups. Chirachua & Peloncillo...
  • NORTH TUCSON FOOTHILLS
    11.63 acres of lush desert foothills on Tucson's near north side, secluded, secure, no HOA. 10 minute walk to Waldorf and Montessori schools, regional bike...
  • VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL OPERATIONS
    The Vice President of Retail Operations will provide overall leadership and accountability for purchasing, product development, merchandising planning, visual merchandising, retail operational excellence, oversight and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners seeks an experienced fundraiser with excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • MS ACCESS DATABASE PROGRAMER
    Looking for an access programmer. Contract position. Send resume with references and rates to: [email protected] www.prospace.biz
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    position in Phoenix with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy.
  • ROADS END CABIN NEAR YELLOWSTONE
    Vaulted ceilings, two fireplaces, two bedrooms, loft, jetted tub, wifi. Forest, mountain views. Wildlife. [email protected]
  • ACCOUNTING CLERK
    Our director is seeking to employ the services of an Accounting Clerk to assist with various accounting and administrative tasks. This is a great opportunity...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMUNITY RADIO PROJECT
    Community Radio Project, Cortez, CO (KSJD & the Sunflower Theatre). Visit ksjd.org and click on the Executive Director search link. CRP is an EOE.