Recently, there was a hot debate between townies and newbies in Southie about which group could claim rights to being "from" Southie, and at what point.
Generally speaking, townies are those born and raised in a town, whereas newbies have relocated from someplace other than said town. This relocation could have happened last year or 15 years ago but you might still be considered "from away," as it’s also called in parts of New England. This is not a new phenomenon, and it happens to all kinds of cities and towns that experience a shift in demographics.
Now, it’s one thing to judge another town’s infighting from afar, but what happens when we turn the camera on ourselves?
There is no doubt that Arlington has evolved over the past 20+ years – it has become a restaurant mecca outside of Boston and the schools are some of the most sought after inside 128. And with this status comes more families, more diversity, and new people seeking a balance between urban and suburban living.
For a town of 42,000+ people (and growing) you can see that Arlington pride abounds across demographics – in support of the schools, services, amenities – we have our own A-Town nickname and ‘Townie’ bumper stickers. So when does a newbie earn townie rights? Do you have to "marry in?" Claim a place of residence for more than 20 years? Drop your "R’s?"
Or, are we all just that comfortable with ourselves and our identities – townies and newbies alike – that we don’t feel the need to draw a battle line in the Arlington Reservoir Beach sand?
Call me an optimist (or just call me maybe) but I think Arlington is above whatever modern-day Hatfield and McCoy-type feuds that exist out there. Maybe we should start referring to ourselves as "Arlington – the Town without an Identity Complex."
Hey, I think we need a bumper sticker for that.