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Winter 2000 Home

Winter 2000


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LETTERS

 

 

Seeing Yankee

Photo

A cautionary tale (caution being a wannabe Yankee attribute). My mother, a native of Nebraska who since a brief early sojourn in California has spent her entire adult life in rural Oregon, announced virtually upon arrival on her first visit to New England that she believed Easterners to be less friendly than those of us from the West.

    Quashing the impulse to whine "Mo-om!" like the spoiled native of California that I am, I instead directed her attention to the passing strangers on Main Street in Northampton, where we happened to be strolling. To an experimental friendly nod, every one of these Easterners responded in kind — some, indeed, grinning like Angelenos and saying stuff like "Whazzup?"

     So I do know that generalizations are suspect, and yet here we are, in this issue, stressing an important feature of UMass, which is where it's at — in New England, grounded, or at least surrounded, by a particular, flinty social and geographical landscape.

     We offer herein articles on town meeting, snow, the possible fate of the sugar bush, and fleeing for California. (And, in a spirit of multi-regionalism, this definition from Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary: "YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. [See DAMNYANK.]")

– Patricia Wright

 
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