Author Stephen King put Hemingford on the map, so to speak, when the town was mentioned several times in his 1984 film “Children of the Corn.” While some in Hemingford would rather not be associated with the stigma of “He Who Walks Behind the Rows” others are happy the community has gained distinction from the author’s work; dubious or not.
Since Children of the Corn, King has seemed to be fixated with Hemingford, including the town in such works as: “Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice”, a film entirely in a fictionalized version of Hemingford; “It”, character Ben Hanscom stops in at the Red Wheel Bar in the town of Hemingford Home, Nebraska; “The Stand”, Hemingford Home, Nebraska serves as the home for the main character, Mother Abagail; and the upcoming novel“Full Dar, No Stars”, in the novella “1922”, the story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, NE onto land willed to Arlette by her father.
Ideas have developed as to why King chose Hemingford for so many of his works, but an actual answer has never been found; until now.
In the March 21 edition of USA Weekend, Patsy Parkin of Wheatland, WY posed the question, “Why did horror writer Stephen King use the name Hemingford as a setting in two of his novels (It, The Stand) and a short story?”
According to USA Weekend: “For King, fictional Hemingford Home is where the heartland is. And it’s named after the real Hemingford, NE. ‘I originally used Hemingford Home in The Stand,’ King says, ‘because I wanted to put Mother Abigail in the American heartland. That’s Nebraska. Hemingford was in the right place. … I love Nebraska and keep going back to it in my fiction — when I’m not in Maine, that is.’
Parkin said she has submitted the question to newspaper supplements for the last 20 years. USA Weekend abbreviated Parkin’s original question as well as King’s answer. In the original question Parkin proclaimed her ties to Hemingford.
“Why does Stephen King use Hemingford, Nebraska, as a setting for some of his novels (It and The Stand) and short stories? Hemingford is a town of about 900 in the middle of nowhere. My husband’s family has lived for years across the street from the Hemingford Country Club (golf course) which is an 8X10 shed on the edge of the prairie. Why does he single out this little town?”
For those who want to hear more about Hemingford from the pen of King, “Full Dark, No Stars” is set to be released in November 2010, according to his website.