Mattapoisett’s Affection for Old-Fashioned Ways Clashes with Nickname
For as long as it's been around, the nickname for Mattapoisett is still a topic of conversation every time it comes up.
"Poi" is a nickname that some in town adore, while others are not quite as receptive. Still, others have never even heard of "Poi." It has become a topic of discussion again this week as a new market has opened in the town.
The market's name? Poi Market.
As someone who has lived in the town for 25 years, I think the biggest reason there is pushback about the "new" nickname is simply that it is new. I love my town, and when I meet someone who is unfamiliar with Mattapoisett, I always describe it the same way.
"It's as if someone hit the pause button on the year 1955. That is Mattapoisett."
Don't get me wrong. This description is one of pure affection. I love Mattapoisett's old-fashioned ways. I love the fact that it is impossible to walk down Water Street on a summer morning without someone saying "hi" to you and your dog as you walk by. I love the town's unabashed appreciation for historical sites including a 185-year-old lighthouse and the oldest seaside inn in America. I even love the fact that townies are inclined to reject a relatively "new" nickname that is at least a decade old.
Change comes slowly in Mattapoisett, and much of the townspeople seem to like it that way. It took a near act of Congress to get a drive-thru allowed at the town's Dunkin'. No surprise that a new nickname would get a cool reception.
Incredibly, there are still people who have never even heard the term "Poi." After seeing the name of Poi Market, John Matos said, "I’ve lived in this town for over 40 years and have never heard the term Poi referring to Mattapoisett."
Patrick Donovan agreed.
"Seriously," he said. "I've never heard of Poi being referred to Mattapoisett."
However, Doug Dur was surprised that there are still people who aren't familiar with "Poi." He says he's used the term since the 1980s. "I actually find it shocking that people have lived here for more than a minute and have never heard. Like some Mandela effect stuff. Not like we didn’t grow up together. So odd."
Truth be told, while I'm aware of the nickname, I'm not a fan. I can't picture myself ever feeling comfortable enough to use the hipster term in the course of a normal conversation. However, I acknowledge that it's out there. Look no further than the Town Wharf General Store which had blankets for sale with Poi branding (pictured above).
Aside from Dur's anecdotal memory of the 1980s, here is proof that the term has been floating around the seaside community for at least a decade. Here are four separate Facebook posts dating back to the year 2012 that reference "Poi."