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I'm one of those evacuees from Staten Island who more than half suspects that it would be great to live there NOW. If I could afford it, I'd move back like a shot. I have a cousin who works for NYPD in St. George, and she tells me that I would not like to move back, but she's wrong.

I have a theory about it: in the study called dialectology, a branch of Linguistics, it's commonly held that the age of 14 is about your last chance to get rid of your native dialect. In other words, if you live in a place until you're about 14 your speech will always retain some signs of it, and there will always be experts who'll be able to hear traces of it.

I think the same thing may be true for one's idea of what home should be like. I was on SI until I was 14 + 2 weeks; my younger sister no longer feels that she has any connection to the island or to the city, but I can't help thinking that it's my home. After 51 years on the mainland!

Jim Donnelly
Hyattsville, Maryland



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