The Traveling Zoo and its bitter Pronunciation Battle

As my family travelled from Michigan to the Grand Canyon, we drove through Illinois, among (so many!) other states.  I had recently watched The Founder" movie and repeatedly heard the pronunciation of the town where Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald's: in Des Plains, Illinois (with the "S" in Des).  I poised the question to my family and asked why they say Des Moines (sans "S") a few short hours away.  All were baffled.

My family was no help and neither were the sisters of Sir Winslow's Zoo.  These two sisters are bitterly divided on how to pronounce French words in their respective state, but they work together on their business and love each other fiercely. Meg who lives in Iowa is pleased that they pronounce “Des Monies” in the correct French vernacular.  Meanwhile Beth lives in Illinois where the town Des Plains is pronounced complete with vulgar S and all.  

These marvels hand-stitched over 100 penguins as a give-away at the Fusion Fusion swag table.  After a long lunch discussing the pronunciation conundrum, they sat down to finish the buggers before our 7-pm meet and mingle party.  Their swag was far and away the most impressive on the table.  When I told that to Meg, she agreed with a wry smile.

 We were all in the Shopify session the following day.   For people that have stand-alone web-sites on platforms such as Shopify in this case, we learned that showing up on Google requires back-linking from one credible site to another.  As I pondered where such content might come from, I got struck by the  preverbal lightening bolt.  Starting with the room we sat in, to the conference and finally to the group as a whole, we have an eager community with the same focus of promoting and selling hand-made items in Flourish.  Since Meg creates items for kids and I have a kid line too, she was the first person I thought of.  My idea is to create blog entries that can connect our products and promote fellow Flourishers at the same time.  For instance, she makes stuffed unicorns and I create a unicorn painting and coloring board. We're going to collaborate on a blog in the next few weeks.  If someone in your life loves unicorns, we'll tackle that subject in depth!  And in the meantime, if you can answer the original pronunciation question, can you please enlighten me? Many thanks!

Please visit and say hi to Meg and Beth.  If you're interested in joining the Flourish community, visit

1 comment

  • I love it! Thank you Mary. We had so much fun sewing those little buggers!


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