mount error: mount point /home/me/x does not exist
Voila! Found it, thanks to the hint about /home being mounted...
Remember when I said I was doing a reinstall? I had three partitions, /, /boot, and /home. When I reinstalled, I left /home alone (har har), and reformatted / and /boot. As a result, the install program created mount points for / and /boot, but /home was left high and dry.
I just added the mount for /home (/dev/hda4), and all is well with the world again.
Thanks for the tip, and hopefully this hint will help someone else...