The other day, a friend made a confession.
“I’ve only been here 10 years,” she said. “I’m not really a Westporter, am I?”
Bill Clinton once famously explained, “That depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
The definition of the word “Westporter” seems similarly slippery.
Here’s what I think. You’re a Westporter if:
You give directions using a landmark that no longer exists. “Take a right at what used to be Dairy Queen” works. So does “Woody’s” or “Swanky Frank’s” — because, as real old-time Westporters know, they’re all the same spot.
You lament the changes you’ve seen since you’ve been here. That can be the demolition of the Compo Inn or the Victorian house on Gorham Island; the closing of Klein’s or Sally’s Place (bonus points if you know how they’re related), the end of the Arrow, Jasmine or the Blu Parrot. You’re even a Westporter if you moved here in June, and are sorry the Red Barn closed a month later.
You can’t believe how rude people are today. It’s amazing, you say, how much more self-centered are compared to the 1950s/1970s/1990s/2000s/2013.
You are able to compare today’s young athletes to yesterday’s. It doesn’t matter whether the name you use is Nooky Powers, Cannonball Baker, Steve Baumann, Lisa Brummel, Lance Lonergan or Jon Baumann (not related to Steve) — if you toss out a reference like that, you’re a Westporter.
You can reference a weather event. The Hurricanes of 1938 and ’55; the Nor’easter of 1993 and Superstorm Sandy all count. The key is to mention how much snowier/rainier/hotter/colder things are/are not compared to the “old days.”
That’s my bar for Westporterdom. We’re a big tent. We welcome everyone.
If you’ve got other ideas, hit “Comments” below. We want to hear from you — whether you’re a Westporter or not.