Noank Tales: What is a "true" native Noanker?

When my wife and I first bought our house in the early 1970s, we were very conscious of the fact that we were newcomers to a village where a majority of residents had lived all their lives. We did our best to adjust to this and eased ourselves into the neighborhood quietly. There were some folks, of course, who were very proud to be “true native Noankers” and occasionally let us be aware of this. Being newcomers from New Jersey, we never disagreed .. at least, not then.

But we then became friendly with Della Kress (R.I.P.) who lived near us and whose family had lived and worked in this area for three generations. One day, Della announced to us that a “true native Noanker” could not be anyone born in the New London, Norwich or Westerly hospitals, even if their family lived in Noank or even if they grew up and went to school in Noank.

A TRUE native Noanker had to start his life by being actually, physically, BORN in Noank ... at home. Anyone else making that claim was an imposter.

From that time forward, we occasionally enjoyed correcting folks that claimed the Noanker title, informing them that none other than Della Kress had indicated otherwise. Della herself did have a reputation of being rather “firm” in her opinions, so no one ever argued the point.

Older historians may know of previous Noank home births, but I know of at least two since 1978.

Ten years ago, with the assistance of Noank EMTs and others, the stork delivered a baby girl, Madison Porter, in the kitchen of Mike and Trish Porter’s house on Prospect Hill. It was obviously a healthy delivery from all the family photos I now see on Facebook.

Recently, on the morning of Jan. 7, the stork was assisted once again by Noank EMTs but most especially by “Grandma” Faith Dubrule Allen. This time it was at the home of Heather (Dubrule) and Randy Harris on Sylvan Street, and a healthy baby boy, Andrew Henry Harris, was the result. Both mother and son were safely at home as of Jan. 9.

I should mention, in fairness, that both Madison and Andrew did make brief visits to a hospital right after the stork delivered them, but apparently these were nothing more than “social” calls ... and in Andrew’s case, he arrived large enough so they may have him starting school next week!

So we now have at least these two kids who can officially claim the title of “True Native Noanker.” The rest of us are all just tourists.

Edward R. Johnson lives in Noank. He can be reached at edwardrjohnson@gmail.com

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