I am one of a special group of people that began their life in what was once a small, modest, suburban town (a town, not a city), and is now one of the fastest growing cities in Indiana. I've spent my whole life in Westfield, Ind. and hopefully what follows resonates with the rest of you residents and former residents. Here are some of the surest signs you're a Westfield Shamrock.
1. You probably used to have a field behind your house, and now there's a crowded neighborhood.
In the early 90s, Westfield was just starting to boom with the rest of Hamilton County. We were the last civilized stop as you left Indianapolis and drove north on US 31. The last 20 years have given time for the suburban explosion to fill in the gaps around everyone that's been here their whole lives.
2. If you still live in the country, you're starting to see signs for subdivisions being built closer and closer to your house.
As stated in item one, Westfield and our sister cities are experiencing a crazy rapid influx of new residents. New housing projects are springing up left and right, on every corner of every county road as soon as you get beyond the most recently finished housing project into the corn and bean fields.
3. You're slightly unsure of anyone that lives in Carmel, even your friends and family.
Residents of Westfield share this hatred of Carmel with the rest of the greater Indianapolis area. The Carmel Greyhounds were everyone's rival growing up, whether you went to Westfield, Noblesville, Zionsville, Fishers or Hamilton Southeastern. But no one can deny the symbolism behind the Westfield and Carmel water towers, which characterize our rivalry, being built across the street from each other on the edge of city limits.
4. Roundabouts, traffic circles, whatever you want to call them, are absolutely everywhere.
The department of transportation apparently has some kind of hit list. On this list is every intersection in central Indiana, and these intersections will all meet the same fate. Eventually, they will be violently torn apart for months, sending traffic on awful detours to kingdom come, so they can be turned into roundabouts. Or traffic circles, or whatever the hell they're called.
5. If you're in school like me and only go home every few months, it looks like a new place every time.
Along the theme of never-ending construction, Westfield has been getting an extreme makeover in recent years to cope with the growth. Every time I go home from school, I have to call ahead and find out which roads are closed, which are open, which newfangled exit ramps to use, and map out a new way home.
6. Everyone had a friend that lived in the country to host parties.
If you lived in a neighborhood like me, you weren't hosting any parties. All those cars parked on the street, the neighbors only a few yards and a couple of thin walls away, you were getting busted for sure. If you lived in the country, you didn't have neighbors. You had a long, gravel driveway that kept the action away from the road. You had ample room for a bonfire, which was bound to happen. You had the perfect spot to host a secret gathering of high school miscreants.
7. We all went on the same field trips growing up.
Stuckey Farms, Corydon, Ind., and Camp Tecumseh might be ringing a bell or two.
8. You relished the day we became a city and made a point to tell all your friends from Carmel.
9. Growing up, youth sports ran everything.
In Westfield and neighboring communities, the local youth sports program was everything. Not only did you and everyone you knew growing up play a sport, everyone in the county knew everyone else from either being on the same team or competing against one another. And, no matter what sport it was, the latest news and gossip was always passed between parents on the sideline of their kids' games.
10. Jan's Village Pizza was the spot.
Just down the road from the high school, Jan's was the place to kick it after school. It was one of the only places that wasn't a weird antique store or a gas station that we could hang out and eat without being taken by our parents.
11. You categorized everyone by which elementary school they went to.
You know who you are. You either went to private or public schools. Among the public schools, you were very proud to be from Washington Elementary, Shamrock Springs, Oak Trace or Carey Ridge. If you went to private school, you were an OLMC kid or you hailed from SMG.
12. For the former Westfield Middle and High School students, we all have that one teacher that left a life long impression on us.
Whether it was Mr. Oestreich, Mr. O'Neil, Mrs., Knight, Mr. Stemnock, Mrs. Gable or Mrs. Mangus, every one of us will never forget one or two incredible teachers that we had growing up.
13. You vividly remember the streak of, well, streakers that terrorized the faculty and made students go wild at WHS pep rallies.
I believe we went three for three my freshman, sophomore, and junior years. And no, mom, none of them were me.