Every once in a while, a Rhode Islander will (gasp!) leave, heading off into the vast unknown, maybe even as far as Vermont or New York. As they explore the world outside of the Ocean State, home is never too far from their minds, and there are certain things that will bring a rush of nostalgia and memories of their native land. Here are 11 things that are sure to make Rhode Islanders think fondly of home.
1. A Signal-Free Lane Change
No matter how far Rhode Islanders may roam, a quick lane change without the forewarning of a directional signal is sure to make them sigh longingly, thinking back to all those days of being similarly cut off without any notice. Then they might try to catch up to the other car and do the same thing to them, just to make a point (and for old times’ sake, of course).
2. Dunkin Donuts
Rhode Islanders love their coffee, and although there are many wonderful locally-owned coffee shops, Dunkin Donuts is a classic Rhode Island favorite. Many people remember the days when Dunkins wasn’t available outside of New England, and it still feels a little like striking gold to come across one when you are in the extreme southern or western regions of the U.S..
3. A Red Sox Hat
Or shirt, backpack, credit card, sweatshirt, keychain, coffee mug, tattoo...you get the idea. Sure, they might be the Boston Red Sox, but Rhode Islanders have a ton of love and pride for this team. And anyone who beats the Yankees, of course.
Unlike California with its 32 area codes, or New York with 15, to all Rhode Islanders, 401 equals home.
5. Mr. Potato Head
Many children grew up playing with this classic toy, but how many grew up regularly seeing giant statues of him in random places in their community? If you were raised in Rhode Island, this was just a part of life, and you needed to just silence all of your questions (why is this here?) and swallow your trepidation (I mean, come on, some of them were a little creepy), and just let mom take the picture.
6. Family Guy
Quahog, Rhode Island (not a real place, by the way), the familiar accent of many of the characters, duckpin bowling, chowda, the Andre the Giant "OBEY" stickers, Pawtucket Patriot Brewery...the list goes on and on. It’s impossible to watch "Family Guy" without having all kinds of feelings about Little Rhody.
Whether they’re quahogs or littlenecks, chopped or stuffed, a clam might as well be the state emblem.
8. Narragansett Beer
No matter how far away you may live, any Rhode Islander would still say to you, "Hi neighbor, have a ‘Gansett."
9. Snow Days
You don’t have to be from Foster-Glocester to remember the days of suspensefully listening to school closings being read in alphabetical order. It will still give you a little thrill to hear that any of your daily responsibilities have been canceled due to winter weather, leaving you no choice but to stay in your pj’s, make pancakes, and play board games all day.
If you’re from Rhode Island, chances are that you have very clear memories of spinning around in circles and riding a painted pony on a carousel. Whether you frequented Riverside, Westerly, or Newport, it’s safe to say that you can’t see a carousel without remembering reaching out to try to catch that brass ring.
With 400 miles of coastline and myriad inlets, beaches, and coves, you can’t go far in Rhode Island without seeing a picturesque lighthouse on a windswept peninsula or clinging to a craggy pile of rocks in the ocean. Whether you’re in California or one of the Great Lakes, a lighthouse will forever make you think of times spent by the Rhode Island shores as a child.
All this is to prove that you can take the Rhode Islander out of the Ocean State, but you can’t take the Ocean State out of the Rhode Islander. To all those who were born and raised in Little Rhody, what are those things that will always make you think of home?