Posted by: Mark Nielsen | June 3, 2008

The Saxeville Name Game

I’m Up North for the day. (Grass ain’t gonna cut itself.) There’s a mist over the surface of the lake, and our Ma & Pa Redwing Blackbirds are noisily on the lookout, protecting their nest down by the reeds on the shoreline. It would be a good morning for fishing, if I wasn’t so lazy, and such a piss-poor fisherman.

Just realized I had never done a post on the possible names we explored for this lake cottage, before we settled on Grayhaven. We even ran a contest, in which visitors could add a name of their own invention to the competition (or else vote for their favorite). Those guest contributions are at the end of the list below. Some are quite clever, but in the end we went with something mysterious sounding and vaguely snooty that I had come up with: Grayhaven Upon Avon (the Avon part refers to Shakespeare’s home).

Here’s the list. I will offer explanations for a few choices as we go…

Wild Saxe With a Big Deck (aka WSBD Radio) – The street address is technically in Saxeville, WI. But for postal purposes, we share a zipcode with the neighboring town of Wild Rose. So I sometimes tell people we live in Wild Saxe. The “big deck” part, while accurate, is just me being even more sexually crude and sophomoric.

Blue Joy Way – borrowed from a Beatles song (Blue Jay Way)

Lucky Lake

Bent Birch Bay – also the working title for a novel I’ve been writing (which I’ll get back to as soon as I can stop blogging so compulsively)

Cape Slob -Sue’s dad was from Cape Cod… she’s descended from some of the original “pilgrims” in 16th-century Massachusetts. I’m descended from impoverished Italian orphans and quarrelsome Irishmen.

The B&B (Bright & Beautiful) -we would turn it into a real B&B, but the lake bylaws forbid any commercial activities here.

Nielsen’s Northern Nook

Saxeville Sanctuary

[Editor’s Note: the too-tiny smartphone format originally forced me to continue this post –from here on –as a second entry. I moved Part 2 back to here a day later.] —>

Sidewalk’s End – any Shel Silverstein fans out there?

Soggy Bottom – Any Coen Brothers fans?

Lake Wobegon South – Keillor fans? There’s even a genuine “Chatterbox Cafe” over in Saxeville, which most likely pre-dates the radio show and so could not have stolen the name.

Club 34 – Mark’s lucky number… also the uniform number of Chicago Bear great Walter Payton

God’s Brown Acre – it’s actually 1.6 acres, but who’s counting?

Two Acres & a Mule – refers to the promised help that freed slaves were supposed to receive… but in my case it refers more to Spike Lee’s “40 Acres” production company

Blessed Balance – Sue’s poetic contribution
– – – – –
Now, on to the visitors’ contributions:

Eminent Domain – Brez Brennan
Cheese Snubbers In Paradise – Karen Brennan (my little sis)
Cape Nielsen – my mom, the literalist
Welcome Lake House – also Mom
Ma Bailey’s Boarding House – Laura Mills (the middle sister)
Our Alternate Reality (aka OAR) – Laura Mills
A Chair In the Lake – Rachel Shelly
X Is Mark’s Spot – Anonymous
Deck, Dock, Doe – tomw (willadsen… now a lake owner himself, two doors south of us)

So… if you’re ever passin’ thru central Wisconsin, stop on in. Maybe you can put your own contribution on the list. Or teach me how to fish.


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