Westie or West Roxbury? What do you call our beloved Boston neighborhood? Our hamlet with a Bellevue Hill view of the metropolis skyscrapers?
I've heard it called both, Westie and West Roxbury, and I wasn't sure what really is appropriate. Afterall, I didn't grow up in the area, so I asked some local voices, some West Roxbury lifers, an elected official or two, and some expert outsiders.
Is it 'Westie, kid!' I'm looking at you, Catholic Memorial Knights! What do you say, students headed to BLS, BLA and any other school? Is calling it Westie a youth thing, and us old folks don't understand the Westie kids today?
I started with West Roxbury native Michelle Hughes Benfer, who happens to be Senior Regional Publisher of New England for Patch Media - An AOL Company. She also is very pregnant and was a pitching all-star at BLS. Go Wolfpack!
Said Michelle, "Westie is said by those who love West Roxbury."
And that's where we start. How about some elected officials who grew up in the neighborhood?
"We never referred to West Roxbury as Westie when we were younger," said , D-West Roxbury. "I think the first time that I heard it mentioned was from kids from other neighborhoods calling West Roxbury that. It was probably when I went to Boston Latin Academy for 7th and 8th grade and met kids from all over the city."
, a West Roxbury resident, who grew up here, said, "When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, no one said Westie, but it seems like younger people now say it."
What do you say young people? Is it Westie? Or is it a matter of class?
West Roxbury Patch columnist Ed Symkus of , said, "I've lived here since 1988, and I've always called it West Roxbury. When I hear someone say Westie, I immediately think of one of those cute little white dogs from the Dewar's Scotch ads."
Fair enough. Sounds like Ed doesn't like Scotch or little white dogs.
Some people are on the other side of Westie being unclassy, like longtime West Roxbury resident Noelle Hallahan, "Using the term Westie is just plain hoodsie. Class is free. Just use West Roxbury. Thank you."
When asked what's the different between calling it Westie and West Roxbury, lifelong West Roxbury resident Kelly Tynan retorted, "One (Westie) was a nickname for a school: West Roxbury High School now ."
Mary Mulvey Jacobson, the wonder of West Roxbury email, and runner-up in the opined, "In my lifetime, I just never heard people calling West Roxbury 'Westie'. Somehow, it just doesn't seem right to me. JP (Jamaica Plain) and Rosie (Roslindale) were common but not Westie."
Expert outsider UniversalHub a.k.a. Adam Gaffin, said, "I don't know, Westie's always struck me as more of an adjective for somebody or something from West Roxbury, not really an alternative name for the neighborhood itself, although the first time I ever saw it used was 'WestiePride' spray-painted on a wall at ."
He added, "But I'm from Rozzie, what do I know?"
Another Boston expert, Gintautas Dumcius, news editor at the Dorchester Reporter, who openly says he's a "Quincy kid" who calls it, "West Roxbury in speech; if I'm texting or emailing, for speed's sake, I call it West Rox."
He added, "I don't recall anybody calling it Westie. Always West Roxbury." He did say that Dorchester residents do refer to that neighborhood as The Dot, when asked if that nickname drew upon class and age, too.
Of course, the , was asked, and he offered, "West Roxbury. It's more formal. Westie is slang. Younger kids call it Westie. Keep it West Roxbury. Call it anything they like - it's still G-d's country."
So what do you call it - Westie or West Roxbury, or both? Please leave your comments below the article.