My favorite book in the whole world starts out, "Last night I dreamt of Manderly..."
If you have read this old book you know by that line exactly what I am talking about. Manderly is a house. Daphne du Maurier was the author of my favorite book, Rebecca. An aunt gave me a copy of that book when I was in my early teens. It remains a wonderful murder mystery and I bet I've read it a half a dozen times. I own several copies...just in case I find a young reader who likes to get lost in a good book. Ms. du Maurier describes Manderly so well that it seems to have a life of it's own. When I went to visit a famous house here in the states and I went up the winding drive, I felt I was about to see Manderly. The Biltmore too, seems to have a life of its own. This past winter I read another book called Mrs. de Winters. It was a continuation of life of the characters after Manderly. It was written by Susan Hill as Ms. du Maurier has long since past away. Ms. Hill understood the importance of the leading lady finding another house with a name and personality of it's own. Cobbett's Brake is the new house. The original murder mystery is continued in this second book. Although the ending of this story made me sad, it really ended as it should have. Ms. Hill was able to make Cobbett's Brake come alive just like Ms. du Maurier did to Manderly!
When I walked into my new house-to-be, I sensed a presence. It was not of a person, or spirit, it was something in the character of the house. This house has a personality. It wraps itself around you and makes you feel safe. I know these walls have many tales they could tell. When you see this house from the road it looks small and cozy. When you step inside you feel like you have been welcomed home. One can find their own space to unwind. Had Ms.' du Maurier or Hill stepped in here they would feel it too. They would understand my desire and need to find a name for this place.
Right away I told my kids and my husband my plan. This house needed a name. As an expectant mother learns that it's best not to tell others prematurely your baby's name...others will voice their unsolicited opinions which usually aren't in favor of your choice, but once the baby is born all will easily accept your choice...I haven't told many the house name. My children were to give suggestions. I wanted something earthy, woodsy, and maybe a bit magical. My son has read all of JRR Tolkien's books, surely he could suggest a name. My daughter is very creative, she too would have good ideas.
In the end it was my husband who casually mentioned what the house felt like to him. "That's it!" I said, "The Burrow." This house is not like the burrow in Harry Potter, but it is like the burrow in it's comfort and how it welcomes all.
Earlier this summer, I went to an amusement park with my brother-in-law and our two sons. I had the above sign made for our new place. My BIL asked, "what will your husband think of this?" It was that unsolicited, non-encouraging tone that made me aware that his opinion was soon to follow, "He'll LOVE it!"
And he does. :) Come visit us at The Burrow!