13 Obvious Signs You're From Westfield, Indiana

13 Obvious Signs You're From Westfield, Indiana

For almost a quarter century, Westfield has been my home.
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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.

On January 1, 2008, Westfield was no longer Carmel's little brother. We were a full-fledged city and no one could lump us into the pow-dunk farm town category anymore.

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.

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.
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When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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Fiction On The Odyssey: Without Chaos

Without chaos, what remains?
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Note: Silver Key recipient in the 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in Short Story


01. Chaos

Without chaos, what remains?

02. Lettuce

“I think that’s the lettuce your mother bought a month ago,” her father says after a long look into the refrigerator.

Through the gap between his legs, she catches sight of a football-sized, fuzzy and greyish-blue thing sitting in the bottomost drawer. She has no idea why it is there in the first place. Besides her mother, nobody in their family knows how to cook iceberg lettuce. Why would her mother buy it if she was planning to let it rot?

Her father answers her unspoken query. “She probably meant to cook it, but forgot. Get me a trash bag and a pair of gloves, will you?”

03. Flinches

She flinches as her mother yanks a comb through her hair.

As usual, her mother’s mind is clearly elsewhere.

04. Nondescript

The man with a foreign name is nondescript in every sense of the word. He’s of average stature, with brown hair of average length, carrying a black backpack of some random brand. Off looks alone, she finds it difficult to believe that this is the very man that her father raves about.

Upon the return of her father’s most recent trip to his motherland, in Asia, her father has taken to becoming a free advertiser for the man with the foreign name, claiming that this man was the equivalent of Jesus’s second reincarnation. Thanks to the man currently standing on the front porch of her home, her father’s greatest aspiration in life is to become a monk.

In mere days, it will no longer be just an aspiration.

She looks up, drinking in the foreign man’s absurdly average features. This is the man who is stealing her father.

If only she could remember his face.

05. Verdant

The sky was positively green the day her father left.

06. Glassy

Whenever she looks into her mother’s eyes, they’re always glassy.

07. Supply

The fridge is empty. So is the pantry.

08. Almost

It’s almost comical how quickly she went from having everything to having almost nothing. Just two years ago, she had loving parents, friends and a safe place. She used to have a home. Her biggest worry used to be whether or not she would like her dinner.

Now, she wonders if she’ll be getting one at all.

09. Steadfast

Every time he looks at her, his eyes speak of steadfast loyalty.

One time, she almost believed them.

She punched him that day.

10. Soup

Her mother has always loved soup. With every meal, her mother would always ensure that there was a bowl of something hearty. Her mother used to claim that she didn’t have a favorite soup, and that she loved all soups, gumbos, chowders, stews and broths equally.

Whenever her mother said that, she would always look at her father and smirk, for they all knew that her mother was lying. Serving tomato soup at least nine times a week, with a perpetual supply in the fridge, tomato soup was an undisputed favorite of her mother’s.

The school’s version of tomato soup tastes like watered-down ketchup, but she can’t help but savor it.

11. Comfortable

She thinks, with a twinge of self-pity, of how comfortable her life could have been.

If only she hadn’t been such a brat.

12. Copy

It was too easy.

For once, the boy with the steadfast gaze was looking away. Everyone else was looking away, too, watching attentively as the teacher ranted about their poor performance on their last test, his disappointment in them, and how, to prevent half the class from failing the semester, he was going to assign a massive, 200-point project.

Or something.

The boy with the steadfast gaze continued to rummage through his bag, oblivious to the fact that she was eyeing his completed assignment. The sheet of paper faced the ceiling, sitting on the very edge of his desk, almost like it was inviting her to come and take a grab—

So, she did.

She stuffed it into her bag faster than anyone could blink, and returned her gaze to the front of the room.

13. Potatoes

In her shared apartment with her mother, she arrives to what seems like a local grocer’s entire supply of potatoes and possibly the world’s largest stockpot.

14. After

“Meet me after class,” the teacher had said to her the second she entered the classroom.

The boy with the eyes that speak of steadfast loyalty stares at her as she sits, his eyes a little too wide.

15. Bucket

Every so often, she wonders what it would feel like to kick the bucket.

16. Trade

“Your salad for some tomato soup?” he asks, unscrewing his thermos lid.

She looks up, then frowns.

She doesn’t know why he’s talking to her, especially after that stunt she just pulled. After the bell had rung, after the rest of their classmates had vacated the room, she became a blubbering mess. She claimed that the teacher was terribly mistaken. She claimed that the boy with the steadfast gaze had copied her.

It had earned him three days of in-school suspension. There was no doubt that his mother, the perfect woman that packed him homemade crustless sandwiches and warm tomato soup in thermoses, would be furious.

The word slips out of her mouth before she can stop it. “Why?”

“I don't know,” he replies.

It’s the best soup she’s ever tasted.

17. Pedal

The bike pedal falls off, mid stride, catching her off guard. It’s only after her tightly coiled body slams into a stop sign that she’s able to process what just happened.

She gets up in time to watch the bike frame collide with a car.

Anger surges unexpectedly within her like an unwelcome guest. That bike had been her primary form of transportation. She could’ve fixed that pedal. That bike would’ve been salvageable.

But, just as suddenly, the anger dissipates.

With its departure, an underlying sense of overwhelming loss is revealed.

18. Divide

The policeman’s glares are divided equally between the car owner and herself.

19. Mark

“That’s not the right one,” she says. Her gaze is unreadable as she watches a policeman approach the door of yet another apartment. “I don’t know where mine is.”

The police are exhausted and exasperated, but they try again.

“Honey,” a female officer says in a tone of barely disguised annoyance, “Try and remember, will you?”

She knows her mother hasn’t paid the bill in three months. She knows about their eviction notice. She knows that when they get evicted, her mother will be sent to jail and she’ll be sent to live in an community home.

“I can’t.”

I can’t let that happen.

Later that night, her nails curl into fists so tight that they leave a mark as the police pound on the front door of the apartment of her residence. She prays, will all her might, that no one will notice the red, half-moon wedges imprinted onto her palms.

They don’t.

20. Ducks

Ducks are adaptable beings. They can swim, fly, and walk. They’re aggressive enough to keep unwanted attention at bay, but cuddly enough to love.

She could afford to learn a thing or two from a duck.

21. Trapping

Her jacket does not do a good job of trapping body heat. She’s desperately cold and thoroughly disappointed—she expected more from Calvin Klein.

22. Detail

The boy with the steadfast gaze pays too much attention to detail.

“Did you have a good night’s sleep last night?”

She looks away. Regardless of what comes out of her mouth, she knows he’ll see right through her.

23. Stew

Her mother stirs a massive potato stew.

She chooses not to ask.

24. Filthy

“Hey, you!”

She looks up and comes face to face with someone unrecognizable.

Not that that’s surprising. She hasn’t made any effort to get to know anyone in this horrible city. Only a few are recognizable to her, and even then, she doesn’t know any names. She refuses to learn anyone’s names. This isn’t her home, so she refuses to make herself at home.

He leans in, wrinkles his nose a bit, then leans in a bit more. “When was the last time you showered?”

A week. Almost two.

“We were talking about it and—can you do us a favor and take a shower? You smell filthy,” he whispers apologetically.

I’m aware. I’m sorry. The landlord cut our water.

She says nothing.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / George Gvasalia

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