The fun part about living someplace other than where you grew up is learning how to pronounce the names of streets and towns in your new area. I remember how my first wife, who was from Australia, pronounced the name of the town in New Jersey I resided in as “Par-SI-pan-y” and thinking it was hilarious because it was pronounced “Par-sip-pany.” But, then, being Australian she pronounced a lot of words the British way. On the other hand, even though I grew up on the East coast I was familiar with southern cities so I was confused when I found out that Houston Street, in New York City, was pronounced “House-ton” rather than “Hue-ston.”
Anyway, when I got here to Texas I was assaulted by all kinds of places that looked like the pronounciation would be straightforward, but they really weren’t. Like, asking people were “Man-chak-a” (Manchaca) street would get you nothing but a blank look. That’s because it’s actually pronounced “Man-chak”.
My favorite, though, is probably Gruene. I tried many ways of saying this, including “Groon” and “Groin-ey.” Turns out it’s “Green.” Because, I guess, the ‘U’ is silent and the ’N’ decided to shuffle a bit to the left.
There is the town of Cele, sort of. It’s a bit of a ghost town, now, but there are still things around it with the Cele name. I have no clue how to pronounce it. I do know that it was named after someone named Lucile. So it could be “Sealy” or “Seal” or pronounced like the first part of “Celeste.” I don’t know.
And God help you if you tell people you’re going to “Burr-Net” and not “Burn-It” because you will get an earful.
I mention this because when I leave work to go home I use Waze to keep track of accidents and cars on the side of the road. Every time I put in that I’m going home, the voice tells me to take 130 Manor. And I laugh and wonder how the voice gets it so wrong. And I laugh. And then I realized that I had lived here for so long that the way it’s pronounced locally has become normal to me. You see, she says “Manner,” as in “Lord of the Manor.” It’s actually pronounced “May-ner,” which blew my mind when I first got here. But now it’s normal. Go figure.
One day I’ll get up to the Muenster House. That’s in Waxahachie, Texas. Asking directions is out of the question and my GPS might just explode trying to say it.