Taking the Long Way Home

palo duro canyon


When Handsome and I travel to Colorado, we pass through Texas. I am always intrigued by names of restaurants, towns, and roads we see. Many years ago, one caught my eye-Wagonsellers Road.


I searched for any information about Wagonsellers Road and found nothing except for a terrain map. I did find a person who lives near Wagonsellers Road with the same last name. So I’m thinking this person is related. I can fully imagine a family built covered wagons and sold them to people headed west: wagon + seller = Wagonseller. Or maybe the family lived elsewhere, adopted the name, and settled in Texas.


I don’t know for sure. Just my writer’s imagination taking me places. I did send an email to the nearby city to ask.


We also see abandoned homes. The weeds have grown high. Holes in the roof. Windows are trashed. The wood siding has turned shades of gray and is warped. Acres of farm land surrounds them. Sometimes, there is a tree or two, which looks equally worn out. Every time we pass these houses, we say, “Sad house.” They do look sad. And again, my writer’s imagination takes me to what happened to the families who built the homes. Handsome says the houses might be from the Depression who left the area to go west and discover something better for their lives. As we roll closer to the Panhandle, we think it possible the houses were abandoned during the great dust storms.


Most of my stories take place in the fictional town of Sommerville. In a quick Google search, I found towns with this name in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, and many people with the same last name. I knew I hadn’t created a new town, but I had hope it sounded like a decent, stable city. And in that town are many kinds of businesses: Dee’s Delicious Donuts, SuperSaver Grocery, Mama and Papa’s Italian Restaurant. A lot of those are patterned after places I frequent in my hometown.


Here are a couple of examples from The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, the grocery store:

               “Ham and pear appetizer sounds beyond delicious. Make it for me.”

               “Ah, but you forget. I’m an awful cook.” With a sniff, she took a tissue from a box and pressed it her nose. “Allergic to the kitchen.”

               Bethany was not an “awful cook.” More like…lazy. Time after time, I’d heard her refer to her cooking as “food assembling.” Take-out from Super Saver Grocery decorated with sprigs of parsley seemed to be her favorite go-to meal. “Everyone knows you’re the worst cook imaginable.”


And the theater:

               He asked, “How about we try the theater across the street? I’ve stopped in since moving here and watched some interesting things in the screening café.”

               “I love going there. Maybe silent flicks are showing.” A magnetic energy drew me toward him. My palms smoothed down my jean-clad legs. I wriggled my ragged sweatshirt sleeves into place. I should have dressed nicer.


I confess-I love the indie theater in my hometown. Many a time I’ve sat in the café before a movie in the main theater began and watched cartoons or black and white shorts, some from the silent era. Such a treat!

Do you know where the name of your hometown came from?

asteriks 2wow winter pix

Sommerville is the hometown in The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, a romantic comedy holiday story in the Whispers of Winter anthology.

When five-time champion Samantha Greene teams up with her new neighbor, Dixon Roberts, for The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, they discover baking a prize-winning entry is complicated, bad guys are plotting to take the crown, and first prize isn’t just about a ribbon.

Preorder yours at:

Barnes & Noble





9 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Vicki, Excellent post! You got me wondering about the origins of my hometown: Sudbury. Here’s what I found on Google:

    Sudbury dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in one of the settlements called Sudbury in the counties of Derbyshire, Middlesex, and Suffolk. The surname Sudbury belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

    Joanne 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Vicki says:

    That’s very interesting, Joanne. I’d heard the name before, always associated with Great Britain. Hugs, vb


  3. Kathryn Jane says:

    Thanks for the inspiration to look up my town’s name! Here’s what I found:
    William Shannon (1843-1928) was one of the first settlers to the Surrey Cloverdale region, buying 960 acres of land from the government in 1875.[8][9] He was inspired to name the area from the clover that grew there in abundance.[9]

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Vicki says:

      Hi, Katherine! I love that name, Cloverdale. Thank you for sharing.


  4. Melissa Keir says:

    Fun post. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio which shared the name with many other places. The town has a rich history in mining since they are one of the largest sandstone mining places in the US.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Vicki says:

      Hi, Melissa! I believe you once wrote about a quarry. Mining is a rich history.


  5. This is a great post! I always thought the name of our hometown (I’m a fourth generation girl) came from the janitor of my elementary school, Edson Reed. Funny how I still remember his name all these years later 🙂
    Instead, when I did a search I found this:
    The town was founded as Heatherwood, but the name was changed around 1911 in honour of Edson Joseph Chamberlin, vice-president of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. … The former hamlets of Glenwood and Grande Prairie Trail were annexed from Yellowhead County by the Town of Edson on 1 January 1984.

    The things you learn 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:

    Fun post by @VickiBatman on #Hometown #History. Do you know yours?


  7. Late to the game here, Vicki. I didn’t look up about the town I was born in, Columbia, SC. Was only there a short time, but the town you mention Wagonsellers is familiar. I believe it’s on the road to Wichita Falls from Fort Worth. If not a town, there is at least a Road Sign with that name on it. I’ve shared.


We love to chat, just comment below. Please read the privacy statement in the menu regarding your privacy. Thank you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.