Brian writes: My co-workers and I had a contest in which we divided the United States into 5 regions, and then voted on whose maps were best. I placed West Virginia in the Northeast, which was widely ridiculed. But West Virginia was created during the Civil War by Virginians opposed to the Confederacy. Please order my colleagues to respect the state’s history.
As Chuck Schumer knows well, West Virginia is hard to pin down. And as you point out, it has historical ties to the Union. It also has coal-mining ties to Pennsylvania and Ohio, and mountains that are no good for Southern-style agriculture — but great for sheltering a unique Appalachian culture of its own. So, try this: Take this column to any Tudor’s Biscuit World and announce that West Virginia is part of the Northeast and that you have a letter in The New York Times Magazine to prove it. Let me know what happens!