Hometown Pride


Hometown Pride

The humble proprietor of this website spent his youth living either in or on a farm outside of the small town of Manson, Iowa (not named after Charles Manson, although he did once express interest in buying some vacation land there).  Manson's official slogan is "Celebrate Country Life," which won a controversial contest when my own entries, "Where Dreams Go to Die" and "Let the Ennui Consume You" were disqualified.  Despite its sleepy exterior, however, Manson has the remarkable distinction of being the site of the largest natural disaster in American history--the only reason it isn't better known is that it happened 70-odd million years before any humans got around to living there.  However, the event is now being celebrated on the side of U-Haul trucks nationwide:

The meteor is believed by many to have killed virtually everything in the surrounding 850 miles.  The impact was thought for a short time to have been "the meteor that killed the dinosaurs," but before a theme park could be built in celebration, scientific consensus moved on to an impact near Yucatan.  Still, as the signs below indicate, Manson does host a "Greater Crater Days" every summer and we proudly claim ourselves to be home of the "Manson Impact Structure":

Because of later glaciers, there is nothing about the surface of Manson that would let you know it had once been a big ol' smoldering crater.  An interesting detail is that Manson has long drawn its water from a underground pocket that is basically the crater.  It was discovered several years ago that the untreated water, which I drank  throughout my youth, has all sorts of intriguing chemical properties, including "traces" of iridium (an element that is rare on earth, but common in meteorites).  So if you are ever wondering what my problem is, blame it on the iridium.

bulletWhere is the Freese family farm?  (Not for a slow connection, but with exciting photos at the end)
bulletSee local news coverage of my father's soybean field triumph
bulletSee a recent local news retrospective on my father's most successful season in the cutthroat competitive world of purebred sheep shows
bulletSee local news coverage of me winning an award for my dissertation (note: I cannot be held responsible for the generous character of the prose here.  Then again, if your hometown paper, relying on information submitted by your mother and sister, cannot be a vehicle of excessive accounts of personal successes, what's the point?  Something of particular pride to note is that the story about me was accompanied by a photo, while the story immediately beneath about a local competitor in the Miss Teen Iowa pageant was not.) 6/27/01
bulletSee Manson's only intersection with stoplights!  (There would seem no good reason to retain these stoplights except that to remove them would be to admit the town's irreversible decline and eventual demise, sort of like when you finally have to take the car keys away from an elderly relative.  As you can see from the photo, however, there's not necessarily a lot of activity at this intersection.) 
bulletJudge a catty local controversy for yourself!  In 2002, Manson painted its watertower.  According to the "official story," the water tower is painted navy blue, celebrating the colors of Manson-Northwest Webster high school (the "Cougars").  However, some claim that the watertower was actually been painted a rueful purple, reflecting the earlier school colors of Manson High School (the "Eagles") before its not-so-congenial consolidation with Northwest Webster High School (the "Bulldogs").   You can decide for yourself what color it is.  (Actually, this photo might leave some ambiguity, and my batteries ran out when I tried to take a shot from a couple of feet away from the side.  So just let me say that when you look at this thing up close, you realize that one would need the enormous capacity for denying the self-evident that small-town life brings in order to see the watertower as being any color other than purple.) 12/26/02

Regarding the Calhoun County Journal-Herald

bulletIn response to voluminous inquiries about the more general content and flavor of my hometown and its newspaper, I scoured the previous year's issues of the Calhoun County Journal-Herald  when I went home for Christmas 2001 (my wonderful mother always saves these for me), and I selected biggest front-page crime story to hit my hometown in the past year, the biggest front-page positive business development story in the area, and an example of the paper's ever-progressive editorials.  
bulletDuring Christmas 2002, I once again spent my customary hour going through the previous year's issues of the local newspaper that my Mom saves for me.  This time, I selected the biggest front-page county government story of the year; an example of the paper's "society news"; an example of the urban renewal going on in Manson; an advertisement for one of the stand-up comedy shows that I've taken to occasionally doing at one of the local bars (I didn't choose my stage name); and yet another one of the paper's progressive editorials.
bulletSee an example of the Journal-Herald's spelling prowess in a report on an intriguing solution by the Manson Northwest-Webster drill team to problems of extreme shyness among its members.




Insert standard disclaimers here.
Whatever is original is copyright 2003 by Jeremy Freese.
All rights reserved. All wrongs reversed.

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