True or False? You Will Never Be From Arlington

Can an Arlington newbie ever earn townie status?

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.

Steve McKenna

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Tim July 26, 2012 at 12:41 PM
" .So when does a newbie earn townie rights? " your answer Steve is NEVER !! They are not from here, they didn't grow up here , they didn't go to school here , their family members that were not buried at Mount Pleasant. So they are not " Townies" .. Its funny I spend most of the Summer on Cape Cod and when I meet people and they ask where I am from and I embarassely Arlington, I hear oh " thats a rich town" . Please does Donald Trump live here ? Lately our Home town has become a town of Wanna Be's. I wanna be better then my neighbor , I have to have better then my neighbor. So Steve as far as the TOWNIE Title, I am one and I don't want to have that title . SO if it makes these "NEWBIES" happy to call the place "A-Town' or be called "TOWNIES" all the power to them . Because Us real townies know what its like to be a real TOWNIE,,,,,,
Wind Dummy 25 July 26, 2012 at 04:28 PM
If you wish to be a townie here in Arlington good luck. The assimilation process appear to be on you and where you land. You have a 50 - 50 chance of settling in with decent neighbors. Like anywhere else some think being a townie is everything. Narrow minded people are everywhere not just Arlington. My family made the move from far away Somerville 35 years ago and I claim neither. I just have excellent neighbors and we don't care where anyone comes from. If your new i town and find yourself in a situation just do your best New England accent and nevahh let them see you back down. Welcome and the best thing to do is nevahh push for ovahh rides, don't pahhk on the streets ovahh night, shop locally when you can and you'll do fine.
Andrew W. July 27, 2012 at 12:54 PM
My wife and I are definite n00bs. But we hope our kids have the same thing Tim has -- that they grow up here, go to school here, and have generations of family here. I mean, every family has to be a newbie someplace sometime. In fact, I'd always been told my family started in DC, where I grew up, but we recently found out we go back to 1600's Scituate instead. When I think about DC "townies" -- and it seems the same here -- it's simply families who stayed for generations, even if they had a chance to go someplace else. It's especially people who *didn't* work for the government. One thing that's funny though is, when people argue being a townie is about accents, how totally different the accents are from town to town. There's no one Boston accent. Check it out, from an accent archive at the University of Kansas. There's Somerville, which is closest to what we think of as a Boston accent (http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/massachusetts/massachusetts3.mp3). There's Southie, which is lots smoother than the movies think it is (http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/massachusetts/massachusetts6.mp3). And right nextdoor in Dorchester, it's rougher (http://web.ku.edu/~idea/northamerica/usa/massachusetts/massachusetts8.mp3).
Tim July 27, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Andrew Welcome to Arlington... I am sure your going to like it here. I used to like it but heck you can't have everything in this world . My family goes back in this town almost as far as yours in Scituate. As far as accents I have the "Southie" accent . I hate it because everywhere in the world I go people ask me if I am from "Southie"? Again Andrew I hope you like our town .Most people are nice
Mark Kaepplein July 27, 2012 at 04:57 PM
I mostly see townie status consciousness in town employment and politics. Politics seem much like H.S. popularity contests and games, so going to HS here is minimum for being a townie. Better yet is a well known parent in local business, politics, or town employ.
Judy July 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM
My father was born in this town 88 years ago. He's a townie. I have been here for 55 years. I'm a townie. My children were born here and never left. They are 37 and 41. They are townies. Need I say more? It's just something inside. You know if your a townie or not. It's a feeling. If your a true Arlingtonian ther's nothing better. Your either cool or your not!
inthegloaming July 29, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Cool? What is this, high school? I hope nevah to be labelled a snooty, snobby Townie. Who cares but those who care about being "cool"? To me, that's the definition of "uncool."
inthegloaming July 29, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Great point! I agree. (not that that matters). I've been here 30 years, but oddly still feel like a Nu Yawker, born and grown up there through college. Though I much prefer living in New England, I've yet to articulate in anything local here. So I'll never be a Townie. Which to me is a relief, frankly. Townies seem much too exclusionary, too them vs. us, too sharks vs. jets. Claims from Tim that they are "friendly" don't ring true.
inthegloaming July 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Darn autocorrect is never correct. That was supposed to be "I've yet to participate" not articulate.
Steve McKenna July 30, 2012 at 02:26 PM
For those interested in the townie-topic, there was a follow-up article on Boston.com yesterday: "With reality TV, is Southie about to be New Jerseyed?" Just thankful Arlington is not in the national spotlight! http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/29/with_reality_tv_is_southie_about_to_be_new_jerseyed/
Marie Hoytni August 02, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Wasn't born here but lived in Arlington for 20+ years - child born here and attended schools here - parents buried in Mt Pleasant. Family still living here Moved away for business but when anyone asks I say I am from Arlington. What am I?


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