THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Dreaded question: Where are you from?

August 4, 2011

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RE “BORDERS without order’’ (Page A1, July 19): Untangling Boston’s boundaries might be tough in the Hub, but the experience on my end is even odder. When Massachusetts expatriates here in New York City ask me where I’m from, I answer Boston. But they do too, meaning Waltham, Reading, Marlborough, etc. - anywhere but Boston. I clarify, usually by saying I’m from “Boston, Boston’’ or “Boston proper,’’ which usually results in the annoyingly skeptical interrogative: “Where?’’ Finally, I sigh, and deliver, sotto voce, “Brighton,’’ then duck, knowing what is about to be flung at me. “That’s not Boston. It’s Brighton.’’ In the end I persuade them, sort of, that Brighton is part of Boston. That is, they agree, but they’re sure I’m wrong. Maybe they’re right; kids from up the hill in Brighton used to say I was from Allston.

Chris Wertz
New York