A Chinese Proverb, French Friends, Celtic Strength, and Two Awesome Women create Nanterre Street in the Gardens at Rockwater.
In naming the streets of Rockwater Village, the founders, Jim Jackson and Lisa Ferrell, sought to honor and remember people they love. In doing so, they added meaning to things frequently taken for granted, such as home addresses.
Oftentimes streets and towns carry the names of people the builders of the neighborhood want to honor. For example, Jim’s hometown of Hope, Arkansas, is named for Hope Loughborough, daughter of a railroad executive who established the station in Hope and later became President of UP Railroad.
Jim’s mother, Nan, was a much-loved science teacher in the Hope School District. She was outgoing, friendly, and an avid reader with a curious mind. Nan travelled widely, first as an airline stewardess in the early 1950s, then as the wife of a naval officer. She lived in Taiwan; Washington, DC; Annapolis, Maryland; Oakland, California; and travelled to Japan, Ireland, Hong Kong, and many other places at a time when world travel was rare.
Jim and Lisa knew that if they had a daughter, they wanted to name her after both of her grandmothers—strong wonderful role models, hence her name Olivia Nan. Unfortunately, Nan passed away of cancer in 1993 and did not have the chance to meet her namesake. Despite this, there is a Chinese proverb that says:
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.
—Ancient Chinese proverb
Nan is connected to her namesake in an unbroken thread of love from Nan to Jim to Olivia. Naming Nanterre Street after both Nan and Olivia strengthens the red thread connecting them even more.
Additionally, a happy coincidence is that Jim and Lisa have their very own French connection. They met their friends, Paulia and Bertrand Duflos, while they were living in Little Rock working for Dassault Falcon Jet, and they became like family. They live in the town of Nanterre, France, a wonderful, walkable, neighborly place. They continue to see each other yearly and share holidays with all their children and families.
A loose translation of Nanterre could mean Nan’s land, as the French word for “land” is “terre.” The French connection and its possible translation made Nanterre the ideal name for a street in Rockwater Village. Their own friendly, walkable neighborhood with beautiful houses has a little bit of their French family alongside the two awesome Nan’s in their life.
The true origin of the name of the French town of Nanterre is derived from the Celtic words meaning “sacred place” and “hard, tough, enduring.” As Jim and Lisa both have Celtic ancestry, this history makes Nanterre even more meaningful, weaving yet another thread of connection.
Jim and Lisa hope that Olivia follows in the footsteps of her grandmother—brave and tough enough to go boldly out into the world. But most of all, Nanterre Street memorializes their love for family and friends that is sacred and enduring.