Are You A Mainer, Or Are You “From Away”?

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Even though you were born in Maine, you might still be “from away,” and not an official “Mainer,” according to some folks.

I remember when I first moved here about five years ago. I was so excited about being able to say “I’m a Mainer.” Well I found out soon that wasn’t the case, as many people here said “not so fast!” Apparently, you’re not a “Mainer” unless you were actually born here. Otherwise, you’re “from away.”

But there are some people that say being born in the state doesn’t necessarily give you the coveted “Mainer” title.

The website takes it a step further – if you can’t claim that at least three generations of your ancestors lived here–or if your ancestors are from here, but you’ve moved away and then returned–then you’re from away. If you’ve moved here–even if from the next community–then you’re from away.

A regional joke states that, like children born locally to parents from away, “Hatchin’ chickens in the stove, doesn’t make ’em muffins, does it!”

Apparently, there’s also the label “PFAs” (people from away). According to the book “Maine Curiosities,” PFAs fall into one of three categories:

1.) Tourists. These are folks who stop by only for a few days, generally during the summer months.

2.) Summer people. The old-fashioned term for these folks was “the summer complaint,” but you don’t hear that much these days.

3.) Transplants. People who have moved to Maine “from away” and now live here year round.

All this may make people from Maine sound unfriendly…but since I’ve been here, I’ve encountered nothing but great people. And especially here in the Portland area, where there are more transplants that Maine born residents, I feel right at home. Even if I can’t call myself a “Mainah”…and I’m ok with that.

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