Before leaving for the Ohio time trial championship in Versailles, my son informed me of the correct way to pronounce where I would be going.
“It’s Ver-sales”, he said. “They don’t like it when you say it like the French city.” As a college student at a small Ohio liberal arts school, he now apparently knows these things.
I added it to the list of other Ohio cities and towns named after foreign ones, but that somewhere along the way forgot how they are supposed to be pronounced.
Milan is “MY-lan”.
Berlin is “BER-lun”.
Genoa is “Ge-NO-a”.
Toledo is “Tuh-LEE-doh”.
Lima is like the bean.
And I think the residents all get mad when you say the name “properly” — like the more famous counterpart, even though that is in fact the origin of their names. Somewhere along the way, someone must have declared, “I ain’t gonna live nowhere that sounds like some Frenchy place.”
Maybe this is the answer to Ohio’s declining economy. Make Ohio sound more cosmopolitan, and we can fool businesses into moving here. When they hear “Ver-sigh”, they might think of wine, bakeries, and street cafes rather than egg farms and chicken poop.
That is perhaps unfair to Ver-sales. Driving around Ohio to go to races, you pass through some pretty dismal looking places. Ver-sales wasn’t one of them. The main street (called Main Street of course) and the surrounding area was striking with its neat little well-kept houses, all with sidewalks, nice paint, and trimmed lawns.
It seemed as though people actually cared about where they live. And more of that would likely do more to revive Ohio than anything.