The Simpsons, there is a familiarity in the lines, in the characters, in the plots, in the place names.
Apparently, there are a number of Springfields towns that share their name with the city that is the fictional home of The Simpsons
One Springfield lies between Stonewall, Colorado and Ulysses, Kansas. City names with their own familiar feeling. The names hint at Civil War generals: “Stonewall” Jackson of the Confederacy and Ulysses S. Grant from the Union army.
One can move around a map of the United States and find recognizable names, without ever having been within a thousand miles of them.
Cheyenne, Wyoming was the place of boyhood Westerns. It was a place from a primary school song, only a snatch of which still remains in the memory, “Goodbye, old paint, I’m leaving Cheyenne, Good morning, young lady, my pony won’t stand.”
What was the song about? Haven’t a clue, it had a tune which suggested a slow and heavy progress of a cowboy slumped in the saddle of a mount that would never now outrun anything.
Moving south into New Mexico, there is Santa Fe. Wasn’t it the destination of those toy America trains with the big cow fenders and the funnels that tapered outwards? Weren’t they called things like the “Santa Fe Express?”
To the east of Santa Fe lies Las Vegas, a city sharing its name with a counterpart in Nevada, but without the dazzling lights, shiny bling and streets full of gambling parlours.
Further east still, one crosses into Texas and the town of Amarillo; Highway 40 would be the way there from New Mexico.
South of Las Vegas, there is Roswell, new Mexico, where the Federal Government has yet to prove that aliens did not land in 1947. The fact that the Government have not conclusively proved that an alien craft did not land is proof for the conspiracy theorists that it, in fact, did. Attempts by the Government to disprove the conspiracy theorists claims only serve to reinforce them in their beliefs.
To the west of Roswell is the town of Truth or Consequences, a town named after a popular radio show.
it is odd to look at a map and finds so many places that find at least some degree of resonance in the mind, despite only once ever visiting the United States, and that visit was to the west coast, far from the states such as New Mexico and Kansas.
The place names demonstrate the extent to which American cultural colonisation has been successful. Centuries of European culture moving west across the Atlantic have been succeeded by decades of American culture moving eastward.
Whether the influences will be as enduring as it has been is a question that cannot be answered in this Century, what is clear for now is that the names of towns deep in the American interior probably have more meaning for people in Britain than their considerably closer equivalents in Europe.
“Goodbye, old paint . . .”