Monday, August 06, 2007

Small town unradical

Sunday on the drive back to Denver I stopped to visit Ward Churchill's home town, Elmwood, Illinois, a tiny (pop. 1,945) but prosperous and pretty central Illinois farm town 20-odd miles from Peoria.

A sculpture by Lorado Taft called, natch, "The Pioneers."

The old Elmwood High School. The classrooms are apartments now, but it must still have been used for its original purpose back in 1965 when Ward graduated.

The old high school. Farmers State Bank. Heroic pioneers (and their dogs). Cutesy gardens. Municipal bands. American flags.

Ward Churchill. A 60-year-old adolescent, still rebelling against the small town that symbolizes everything he hates. Facile, maybe, but it fits.

By the way, I didn't interview townsfolk about Ward because there weren't any. Sunday afternoon, about 96 degrees and 96 percent humidity, and downtown was empty. Maybe next time.

Update: an e-mailer in a position to know says he doesn't think Ward graduated from Elmwood High School, but lived with an aunt in Peoria his last two years so he could attend a school with an art program. Bright lights, big city.

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