When Carlton Fisk played catcher for the Sox in the 1970s, he was beloved not only for his on-field skills but because, as a Vermont native raised in New Hampshire, he was the Boston equivalent of a hometown product.
William Moore, the BU professor, said New England defies simplistic definitions.
"We don't necessarily share a cuisine, except for Dunkin' Donuts. We don't share a religion," he said. "We're looking for something to bind us together, which is why the whole Red Sox Nation idea is so powerful."
In the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, the neighboring town of Monroe, Conn., began renovating a vacant school building to take in the children from Sandy Hook.
At a news conference three days after the shooting, a Monroe police officer sought the right words to describe the efforts.
"Monroe is a small New England community," said Lt. Brian McCauley, "and we are helping our family."
Associated Press writers Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vt., Mike Melia in Hartford, Conn., Michelle Smith in Providence, R.I., Kathy McCormack in Concord, N.H., and David Sharp in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.
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