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
  • OPERATIONS AND FINANCE MANAGER
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a national grassroots organization led by women, seeks a resourceful, self-motivated, team player to serve as Operations and Finance Manager....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) fosters community stewardship, education and awareness of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • WYOMING STATE DIRECTOR
    Save the World ... or at least a piece of it! Join The Nature Conservancy and make a tangible and lasting impact by creating a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY NON-PROFIT NEAR YOSEMITE
    Demanding, but rewarding, advocacy work on forest, water, wildland, and wildlife issues. Applicants should have experience dealing with land management planning, public speaking, grassroots organizing,...
  • NEW AGRARIAN APPRENTICESHIP
    Quivira Coalition's 2020 New Agrarian Apprenticeships in Regenerative Ranching and Farming -Apprenticeships run 4/20 - 11/20 Applications accepted 10/15/19 - 12/1/19 NAP partners with skilled...
  • PHILANTHROPY DIRECTOR AT WILDERNESS WORKSHOP
    Wilderness Workshop seeks a full time Philanthropy Director to raise funds for our team. Learn more: www.wildernessworkshop.org
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT WITH WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks an enthusiastic and organized problem solver to join our growing team as an Executive Assistant. The Executive Assistant is instrumental...
  • WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL
    Two positions: Development Director OR Development Writer, Communications Director. Full job descriptions at https://wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org/careers.
  • CONSERVATION PROJECT MANAGER
    Great Land Trust seeks to hire a Conservation Project Manager. Position is full-time, based in Anchorage, Alaska. First review of applications will be on October...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eagle Valley Land Trust Executive Director Position Description Summary of Position: The Executive Director, working with and reporting to the Board of Directors, has overall...
  • FINANCE & LOGISTICS COORDINATOR
    The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, founded in 1928 as an independent nonprofit organization, is a biological field station located near Crested Butte, Colorado. Our primary...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    See Full Job Description
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Position: Development Coordinator Responsible to: Executive Director Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per week, or as otherwise agreed upon General Description: The Development Coordinator assists the...
  • EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Friends of Cedar Mesa seeks a full-time Education Manager for the Bears Ears Education Center to provide day to day operational and administrative oversight. See...
  • TROUT UNLIMITED SCP SOUTHWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
    Seeking to hire an experienced advocate/manager to oversee the organization's sportsmen/women-driven advocacy in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Open until filled
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    for northern AZ collaborative conservation ranchlands group
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Partners are seeking an experienced and energetic Executive Director who is excited about the opportunity to lead our growing organization! A full description of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country News Seeks an Executive Director to advance its mission, grow its audience and influence, and strategically and sustainably guide the organization through a...
  • 2 PROPERTIES ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Organic farm, hot springs, San Francisco River runs through both. [email protected]
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.