Things to Ponder
May 17, 2013
As I embark upon a new career path here at the Riverside Branch, I am excited and a bit nervous. No matter how old I get, some experiences still give me butterflies in my stomach, the same way they did when I was little. Starting a new job? It is the same as starting kindergarten. All these new people to meet. I hope they like me. I hope I don’t say something stupid. Why can’t I just stay home all day, watch cartoons, eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and drink Kool-Aid?
Life is a wonderful journey. I began working for MCPL at a time when there were many changes in my life…new wife, new step-daughters, new car. Shortly after, there was a new house, new car, new job, and even some nice new shoes and a new little puppy. I do enjoy change. I really do. But like many people, it can take some kicking and screaming to get me to actually embrace it. While we are all part of one big library system, each branch has little things it does differently, little nuances to be explored and to which I need to adapt. I am very excited to be a part of the Riverside Branch now, and it is a wonderful team of people here.
So now the blog comes in, the part where I ponder and wonder and rant and rave about things. If you ever read any of my blogs at Smithville (and you probably didn’t judging from the lack of comments), you’ll know I ponder a lot of things.
So now I’m hooked on city names. I’m reading a book called K.C.: A History of Kansas City, Missouri, which is great historical account of Kansas City’s colorful past and how it got to be where it is…at least until the 1970s, when the book was published. This got me thinking of how towns and cities get their names. Kansas City was originally known as City of Kansas (a name which, incidentally, beat out the 2nd closest name option by a vote of 20-19. The second closest name option? "Possum Trot")
I wonder how Riverside came to get its name. Yes, it's beSIDE a RIVER, so that would make sense. But why couldn’t they come up with something more original? Plenty of other major cities were started on river banks, and they have far more creative names. Like Pittsburgh. Or Cincinnati. Or Memphis. Or Cairo. That all being said, "Riverside" does has a nice ring to it, and I’m enjoying being more involved in this community.
I actually live in Gladstone, which as many of you know is often referred to as "Happy Rock" or my new entry into the name contest – "Jubilant Boulder."
I came from the Smithville Branch. What a name! Do you think it would have been called "Kowolskiville" if it had been founded by someone with that for a last name?
I love learning little trivial things about history and about how towns or cities and their streets got their names. It’s fun to read history books and read names and think, "Wow! I drive down the street named after him every day!"
There are a lot of historical websites and databases that can give you information on how states, towns, cities, and streets got their names. If there are any other little trivial historical things you are interested in, please feel free to ask us at the Library. Just don’t suggest we rename the town Possum Trot.