Wednesday, May 03, 2006
City Names that Make Me Smile, or, The Fruits of Sleep Deprivation
Here in the Northeast, there’s a convenience store chain called Wawa. There's a city called Mahwah. I don't know if there's a Mahwah Wawa, but there should be. I’m waiting for them to open a store in Walla Walla, so there could be a Walla Walla Wawa.
In Princeton, there’s a small shuttle train the locals call the Dinky, which has a stop near a Wawa. If a similar train were built in Walla Walla, you could catch the Walla Walla Wawa Dinky. I could say that phrase all day long.
What city names make you smile?
And then there's Climax, MI
There's a town in Iowa called "What Cheer," which is pronounced as one word, something like "Whacheer."
Here is a great site: http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/hall/8701/townname.htm.
Also, Eighty-Eight (I think in PA), and when you're traveling on Rt. 80 to State College, PA, there's a town called "Jersey Shore" that's not very close to NJ, nor is it by any water.
NJ also has TWO towns called Manunka Chunk.
Clearly, I've given a lot of thought to this issue.
Hoquiam...Humptulips...Snoqualmie...Puyallup...and yes, Walla Walla.
And I'm amazed that nobody has mentioned Intercourse, PA yet.
At one point, my hometown team, the Phillies, had Ricky Jordan playing first base; Mickey Morandini playing second; and Dickie Thon playing shortstop.
I wish that, just once, I had heard Harry Kalas say "Dickie to Mickey to Ricky...DOUBLE PLAY!"
coming to mind immediately. You can chase irritating small children while saying the names of any of these in a basso-profundo voice and they will stop being irritating.
Have you heard the story of how Nome got its name because the mapmakers put "Name?" on the map & it (a) was mistranscribed and (b) stuck? (Story, I said; I don't know if it's true or not.)
Cos Cob (CT)
Yreka (CA--pronounced why-REEK-ah, and not to be confused with Eureka, which is a different town).
Also, I'm fond of Rising Sun, IN, where the high school athletic teams used to be called the "Dawns".
Sandwich and Normal and Harmony are not too far from where I'm posting.
I also have Surprise, AZ to share
So, if there was a train from Nebraska to Washington to California...it could be the Ogallala-Gualala with a stop-over in Walla-Walla.
Bogue Chitto, MS
Guin and Gu-win, AL (a couple miles apart)
Pumpkin Center, LA
Yazoo City, MS
Footdee - old part of Aberdeen and pronounced 'Fittie'
Findochty and Garioch in Aberdeenshire - pronounced Finechty and Geerie - to taunt the non-locals I'm sure.
Temple of Fiddes
Frome Ferry (the road sign has another sign underneath saying 'there is no ferry at Frome Ferry' - always makes me laugh)
Gardenstown - but often still called Gamrie, took me years to realise they were one and the same.
Thats just in Scotland - don't get me started with England.
Versailles, IN (Ver-sayles)
Rio Grande, OH (Ryo-grand)
Cairo, IL (Kay-ro)
Milan, OH (and MI) (My-lan)
There are more subtle ones, which can be used by local people to detect aliens and furriners relatively easily. The exact pronunciation of Lancaster, PA's name will point you our as a city slicker or a local rube, every time.
I love "Oblong girl marries Normal boy." My favorite headline ever was from the sports page of a New York paper years and years ago: a Catholic high school called Christ the King had lost a basketball game to its archrival, St. somebody, earlier in the season, and a rematch was imminent. The headline read "Christ the King Seeks Revenge."
I, for one, found that fairly alarming.
trying to help you cling to anonymity, Dean Dad!
Also, I once had a stepfather who came from Mahwah, and it is a delightful name.
"Fertile woman dies in Climax."
Ding Dong, TX
and the best... you take Lotawata Road to get to Nowata, OK! You have to say that last one aloud.
I'm just kidding about the pronunciation; it's said just as it is spelled: W-aw-ll-ah W-aw-ll-ah. However, for some reason, people who aren't familiar with the town often have a hard time wrapping their tongue around the second Walla. They tend to drawl it out like the town belongs in Texas, not SE Washington.
Or sometimes people will say it more like an inquiry: Walla Walla?
As though they still don't quite believe they should be saying the same word twice and are questioning you on whether or not it’s possible for a whole town to be playing a practical joke on them.
FYI Walla Walla is a great town to live in. Look it up sometime. It was Money Magazines 2006 top voted place to retire.