Thursday, October 04, 2007

Smalltown

Earlier tonight I was talking to a friend from college who now lives out of state and has always stood by his opinion that Boston is a townie town, i.e. people who are born here (not that anyone is ever actually born or raised IN Boston, just close to it) never leave, or always return, and natives will obsessively extoll its virtues to anyone who will listen.

I started to disagree on principle, and then I realized that I was sitting on my bed with the Improper Bostonian flipped open to an article about fall dining in the city (which I do more reading about than eating, but I love fall and I LOVE fall menus... cider apple soup, pumpkin ravioli, baked apples, cornbread and cranberry stuffing, I could go on) while watching the Sox play, and win, their first postseason game (last October I drew a big, optimistic "07" in the centerfield dirt at Fenway with my sneaker, so here's hoping). All I needed was Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the other room writing a screenplay.

When I told him this, he started presenting more proof of my townie status, pointing out that my split second reaction after hearing that a friend moved to California was "Why would anyone DO that?" and that my idea of a money shot is the view of the Boston skyline after the Cambridge tolls on the Pike. He reminded me that anytime I go to New York for the weekend I get homesick (what, Manhattan is freakin' scary!) and he still insists that when my road rage creeps in, so does a slight Boston accent. I deny that, but okay fine, if that's your definition of a townie, then guilty as charged, I guess. I love the seasons, being close to the water, the fact that it's a baseball town, the overall sense of coziness, the locally brewed beer, the Cape, how people are wicked smaht... okay, I'm just driving the point home now. "Born and raised" sounds so provincial, I know, but I can't imagine living anywhere else. I'd never want to be transient, but I suppose if you don't like to be trapped in one area for too long then you feel as strongly about that as I do about being a country mouse (living five miles outside of a major city). Most of the people that I love are here, and I've always been happy here. I imagine that if they weren't or I wasn't, I would've made a different decision long ago.

Do you guys feel a major connection to where you live? Would you up and move for any old reason, or have you in the past? If you didn't have job/family/etc. connections to where you live now, would you move somewhere else?

And this is the perfect time to comment, because The Great Delurking Day was... oh. Yesterday. Yeah! So anyway.

13 comments:

3carnations said...

I felt no connection to my hometown as a place. I moved out of state after my first semester of college. I've lived in several states. I've been here for 12 years. I feel a connection here...But I could leave. If I had my son and husband with me, I could go anywhere, and it would be home.

Jess said...

I feel a bit of a connection to North Carolina, where I grew up, insofar as when people mention it, I always have this moment of "That's MY home state." But not a strong one. I'm hoping to raise my kids in one place so they'll have that kind of feeling of connection.

Shesabigstar said...

Well, first things first...GO SOX!!

No, I don't have any connection to where I live WHATSOEVER...dying to move actually!! I was born and raised in Maine...lived in the same house until I graduated high school, and after moving numerous times throughout the last 10 years, I am back in Maine. The things that are holding me here are doing so less and less each day. Here's to hoping that I won the lottery last night (haven't checked my tickets yet) so that I can PEACE OUT of this state!

stefanie said...

I've started to feel more of a connection to Minneapolis and St. Paul, but I wasn't raised here, so I'm not sure that counts. There's definitely a vibe here of "people from here never leave" and of all the natives thinking it's the best place in the world and the only place they'd ever live. And it routinely gets below zero here in the winter, so I think that says a lot.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

I'll delurk today, too;> I'm a fairly new reader.

My "home" state, Virginia, where I was born and spent about half my childhood and all my high school years, doesn't have a connection for me other than that. I moved to central Florida right after high school and only came back to Virginia because I went through a time where I desperately needed the support of my family, all still in Virginia. Now that everything has settled over the past couple years, I want out. I have much more of a connection to Florida as far as places I miss living. I married into the Navy earlier this year and will be able to leave Virginia next year some time, most likely all the way across the country and north to Washington. I'm excited.

Anonymous said...

I seem to be unable to move away from my home town... grew up by the beach in San Diego, have lived in Hawaii, Boulder and the SF Bay area, and keep coming back!
nancy

nabbalicious said...

I didn't feel a connection to where I'm from until I left. While I love the East Coast and don't regret living there at all, I couldn't help but compare everything to San Francisco, and everything else always came up short. The sourdough bread was lousy, the Washington Capitals are not the San Jose Sharks, no street is steeper than the ones in San Francisco, no bridge is as pretty as the Golden Gate (although the Brooklyn Bridge is a close second)...Now I take pride in where I'm from and wonder why the hell I ever left California in the first place!

Melissa said...

Boston and vicinity rules! Totally proving your friend's point, of course. I'd like to add that most real Bostonians live outside the city. The majority of people I've known who live within city limits (no, Brighton does not count!) are college transplants or other interlopers. Agree?

d said...

Boston and Red go together like a horse and cabbage. Wait..what?

-R- said...

I lived in five different states before I went to college. Then I moved to a different state for college. After college, I moved to another state for law school. And after law school, I moved to Minnesota. I do kind of feel a connection to the state where I lived from 6th grade through high school (which is also the state where my mom still lives). When I meet people from that state, it makes me happy, but I don't want to move back there. I do kind of feel a connection to Minnesota, but I think it might be less about MN and more that I am tired of trying to make new friends every few years.

Julie said...

I live in Austin--have for 14 years. I love it and feel a real connection. I've considered moving, but I've never had that real NEED to get out. Boston and Vancouver, BC are two other cities I could see myself in, though. I'm from a very small town in East Texas (think The South), and I think that contributes a large part of my identity. I'm within driving distance (300 mi) of my family, but it's nice to live in a more progressive place. Along with, I might add, quite a few other people from my hometown.

MJ said...

I definitely feel a connection to where I'm from (Indianapolis) and HAVE many connections there (almost everyone I grew up w/ is still there--no one ever leaves!) but for whatever reason, I don't think I'll ever move back there. Winter sucks.

PS I LOVE BOSTON. One of the most fun cities I've ever been to. Although I did date a guy from South Boston for a while who was a total jackass.

Allie said...

I'm a Mainah...born and raised there. But I recently just moved to New Jersey. What the hell was I thinking!

I used to work for a company in Maine and they closed their offices there and integrated them with their offices in NYC and New Jersey. They asked me to move at the time and I said no. Then three years later they had an opening again as asked if I would consider coming down and I said yes. I figure if I hate it...I'll come home. So far I'm still just getting settled and getting used to everything. We'll see how long I last. Because I really do love Maine. I love the smell of the ocean and the fact that I was never more than 20 minutes from a beach. The smell of Newark when I drive through it at the end of the day...just isn't the same...