We all have names; it’s what defines us. Our name tells people who we are and it can give clues as to our heritage, religion, and maybe even our personality (think about the names Mortimer and Hazel), but what if our name was changed. What impact would it have on us? Of course there is the obvious, getting accustomed to being called by the new name but how would a new name affect our personality?
A couple of days ago I was talking my friend, Sandy, who grew up in Milwaukee but now lives in Orlando, Florida. I told her that Monkey is taking ballet classes at the Milwaukee Ballet School, which is located in the lower level of Riverpoint in Fox Point. Riverpoint? How could she not know where Riverpoint is? Ahhh . . . Brown Port. The place where we went bowling and to the movies is now home to Best Buy, Borders, and a half dozen restaurants. While it has a new façade and the name has changed, the memories of gutter balls and large buckets of popcorn will always be at Brown Port. I admit, I occasionally still refer to Riverpoint as Brown Port. I guess some habits are hard to break.
I then told Sandy that my husband and I were having dinner on Saturday night in the Third Ward. In a warehouse, she wondered. Even though the name Third Ward has remained the same, its character has grown. No longer is it lined with warehouses for fruit and vegetable wholesalers. The Third Ward has grown up. Now home to restaurants, lofts, offices, theatres, shops, and spas, the Third Ward is an essential and vibrant part of our city. It’s the place that we want visitors to see, a gem in the heart of Milwaukee. The Third Ward shows us that as we grow our name can remain the same but over time our personality can change.
A name and character change come together in the North Shore’s version of the Third Ward. The once lackluster, aging, and ugly Bayshore Mall has been replace by another jewel to be proud of, the upscale Bayshore Town Center. Spas, stores, restaurants, offices and apartments make up this lively and sophisticated suburban hub. A Town Center is a name truly fitting for its new style and personality.
In a time of growth and revitalization for our city, new names bring new life. While our old memories of fond places still remain, new memories will be created as the façades and personalities of aging places undergo facelifts.
In thirty years from now, what will Bayshore Town Center be called? The Bayshore Biosphere? Will Monkey and her friend Apple Bottom reminisce about their days of gutter balls and large bags of popcorn at IPic, like Sandy and I recall our days at Brown Port? Time will tell.Just like the names of area shopping malls can be reflective of their character and change over time, our nicknames can grow up too. Sandy can become Sandra and Johnny grows into John, both changes possibly reflecting maturity and a new identity. As an eight year old, my daughter’s nickname of Monkey is perfect for her current personality; fun and playful. When she grows older she may no longer want this nickname but she’ll always be my Little Monkey. I guess some habits are hard to break.