For those wanting ROW80 scroll down to the bottom – am working on getting a different page but not quite there yet:(
Some of you might know how much I like connections through time. I delight in those I find in my own family history, but I often read of others which give a very satisfactory feeling of contentment. One such,one of many in fact, occurred in one of my summer reads, a book going under the catchy little title of
Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language ‘tis by Mark Forsyth.
Well worth the read I do assure all word lovers out there.
Let me tell one of the stories of happenstance he tells. The tale begins in the 700’s (well probably well before, language being a very old affair), when the Vikings were indulging in one of their regular raids of mayhem on these shores. They landed in the North and plundered their way down the East coast, maybe some were beginning to land grab and settle down, and just outside Harrogate in Yorkshire one, or maybe a group, found a stream full of splendid ‘sedge’. I assume it was splendid, why else name what is after all only a stream not even a river; maybe just because it was such a useful plant. It is not so hard naming geographical features – this was called Sedge Stream, it is not like naming a novel after all, needs no poetry or mystery just needs to identify a place.
Of course as they were Norsemen and spoke Old Norse what it was actually named was Starbeck, which is Old Norse for sedge stream. Over time families lived around this stream and they became known as ‘Starbecks’ and then over more time and due to – whatever – a vowel changed and they became Starbucks.
Now you are jumping to conclusions, this tale is more devious than that:)
During history there was the usual turmoil, war and mayhem. Religions came and went, religions changed, splintered and chaos abounded all around! There was not room in these islands for all these dissenting splinters.
Fortunately, during this history, the intrepid had sailed across the oceans and ‘discovered’ new lands. One such splintered religion – Quakers- believed the ads painting this new land in wonderful shades of pink and gambled their lives and future history on the dream.
I say gamble because,what else was it, people drowned just crossing the Irish Sea for goodness sake, and that was a veritable puddle compared to the Atlantic. And do you know the size of those sailing ships?!
One of those families settled on Nantucket Island and eventually made it big time in the whaling industry. They were Starbucks.
Wait for it- wait for it.
Now a couple of important deviations in the tale.
First deviation: A former whaler called Melville wrote a novel,I do like it when fiction becomes entangled in fact. He named his novel Moby Dick,it was, for those who have never heard of it about a great white whale which was hunted by whalers on a ship named Pequod. Melville knew of course about the great whaling family and in a nod of homage toward them named the first mate, Starbuck. The novel wasn’t that popular in the 19th century but come the 20th it gained the popularity it deserved. It was hammered into school children across the reading world.
2nd deviation: We go to Seattle now to a school teacher who loved Moby Dick, rating it high on his list of must have/must read all time great books. His name was Jerry Baldwin. He had a couple of friends who like him wished to set up a business. A coffee shop type business. Jerry knew he had the perfect name for this new shop.
Yup you’ve guessed it ‘Pequod’!
Well his partners didn’t take to it and dusting down a map looked for some local name that would do better. They found an old mining settlement with a name they liked and thought their shop should be called ‘Starbo’. Jerry not a man to be beaten saw a possibility and suggested a compromise between them and himself.
So Starbucks was born.
From 1st century Vikings, through religious turmoil, across the wild Atlantic to Nantucket Island,a hop across to Seattle and then across the globe to the 21st century. From Sedges to whaling to literature to school teaching to international coffee.
I do like connections over time and distance:)
Having faded through the summer I am so impossibly behind it doesn’t bear thinking of:) Bearing this in mind this round I have singled my goals to one – get WIP finished, at least to friend from forever/editor level. If I do NaNa this year it will be as a rebel, just for the buzz to keep WIP flowing.
I will try and catch up the networking – been a trifle remiss over the summer!
so all the best to all and have a fruitful week:)