"Live free or die"

In case you don't believe me...
Ranked the #1 small city in the Northeast!

Where else can one live 45 minutes from clean beaches, an hour from one of the world's greatest cities (Boston), an hour from some of the largest and most beautiful lakes in the country, and a few hours from 6000+ foot mountains?

Manchester, or as some of us locals call it, The BIG CITY. Add on no income tax and no sales tax and you have one of the most productive economies in the nation.

Every four years we are center of the political spotlight as Presidential candidates compete to win the coveted first-in-the-nation primary. For the 1992 election, Clinton, Dole, Tsongas, and bunch of others visited my high school.

A little history

Manchester, of course, was first settled by Indians (err Native Americans) long enough ago that we're not really sure because Indians did not wear digital watches. When the white man came we kicked those Indians out of there pretty quick and ate lots of yummy eel out of the mighty Merrimack river that runs through the middle of Manchester. Manchester was named after the city in jolly old England which was a large manufacturing town. That's what we became.

When the 'ol industrial revolution came around, factories popped up like weeds along the riverside and for some short time, we were the manufacturing center of the world, churning out textiles, cigars, and anything else that little children could be taught to make for 13 hours a day. The river was a particularly good place to build a factory because all that unsightly textile waste could be easily deposited in the river for those Massachusetts people to deal with later. (Did someone say "anthrax"?) Since it was so fun and easy to work in a Manchester mill, immigrants came from all over to work there. During Canada's depression of the 1800s, Canadians came in droves to find work. So did the Irish. So did the Germans. So did a lot of people. The Canadians infested the West Side of Manchester and started saying things like "Throw me down the stairs my shoes, eh?" You aren't really from the west side if your grandmother (or 'memere') didn't work in the shoe shops.

We built a cool bridge so that that people who lived on the west side could work on the east side. It fell down. We build another one. It fell down. The whole manufacturing thing started to cool off after a while and we cleaned up the river. The mills are slowly being bought up and converted to less industrial uses like "Putt and Party" and U.S. FIRST. We built another cool bridge. It was green and wobbled when you drove across it. We tore it down and built a rather undistinctive concrete one.

Instead of the mills, now we have malls. Big, glorious malls that encourage you "spend the day." (especially if you're from Massachusetts - it's tax-free, you know.)

How about a little Q & A?

Yes, people have actually asked me this question:

[Q] What state is New Hampshire in?

[A] Uhhh... maybe a visual aid would help:
[Picture clearly showing that yes, NH is its own state]

Note the vertical line on the left side of Maine, the horizontal line above Massachussetts, and the squiggly line on the right of Vermont. In the middle is NH.

The U.S. Gazetter shows that Manchester is in three different counties. This is because of some esoteric Postal Service numbering scheme. We're in Hillsborough County.

[Q] Aren't there more cows than people in NH?

[A]No. You're thinking of Vermont, and the people population surpassed the bovine population sometime in the seventies. According to the 1990 Census, about 1.1 Milion people live in NH.

[Q] Isn't it really cold up there?

[A] It's somewhere between 5 and 10 degrees colder than it is in New York. This doesn't make much difference in the winter, but it makes our summers much more tolerable.

[Q] Don't y'all talk funny?

[A] For the most part, no. The "down-easter" accent you southerners so fear is prevalent mainly in Massachusetts and Maine, although your chance of catching a "ayup" gets better as you get closer to Boston. There is help available if you have trouble communicating with the natives.

For the acute listener, you'll notice two variations on the Yankee accent, depending on where you go. Amanda Bligh explains:

In my opinion, the "down-easter" accent is more prevelent [sic] in small towns, esp. the further north into NH that you go, and the further into ME you go. The deepness of the true "down-easter"/Yankee accent is directly proportional to your distance north of Boston, and is inversely proportional to the number of people you have in your town. That is why you tend not to find it in Manchester or Nashua, but it is quite prevelent in Colebrook, and smatterings can be found in Contoocook and Henniker and in small towns within MA and RI.

Within Boston there is a whole 'nother sort of Yankee accent which is normally associated with the Kennedy family. This is the elite-educated-at-Harvard-spend-summers-on-Cape-Cod sort of accent. It is of course distictive, but should never be comfused with the accent of a Maine fisherman or a NH logger. They are quite different, and each would be offended that you confused them with the other.

[Q] So what goes on in NH?

[A] I don't have a whole lot of stuff right now, but you might enjoy The Opossum Story. If you really want to find out what The BIG CITY is all about, read John Clayton's (whose ex-wife taught me Algebra at West High School) book In The City. It's a Dave Barryesque compilation of his weekly column in The Union Leader.

[Q] What do people from Manchester, England think of Manchester, NH?

[A] The British sure do have a way with words, don't they?
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 1995 16:15:07 +0100
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: AIR Mosaic Feedback Mail

I would like you to change the name of your page, as it is deceptive. I live in
REAL Manchester, in England (clearly a better place), so can you please stop
insulting the proper MAN-CHEST-AHH, and change your yank rubbish.

             Cheers (from a Genuine Mancunian)

[Q] What does Mike Barnicle think of NH?

[A] Mike Barnicle was a columnist for The Boston Globe. Supposedly, his columns are satirical. I'm not convinced. "Vermont vs. New Hampshire" is one of Mr. Barnicle's 'masterpieces.'

[A] According to my good friend Jerry Marceau, a city is called a "Queen City" if it is the largest city in a state, but not the state capital.

[Q] Got any good jokes about NH?

[A] Here's a little story...

There are these 4 guys driving in a car together, 1 from Maine, 1 from Vermont, 1 from Massachusetts, and 1 from New Hampshire.

Down the road a bit, the man from Maine starts throwing bags of potatoes out of the car window, the man from NH asks what are you doing that for? The man from Maine says, we have so many potatoes just lying around our state and I'm just sick and tired of seeing these things.

Down the road a bit more, the man from Vermont starts throwing jugs out maple syrup out of the car window, the man from NH asks what are you doing that for? The man from Vermont says, we have so many of these jugs just lying around our state and I'm just sick and tired of seeing these things.

And moments later....

You guessed it...

The man from New Hampshire throws the man from Massachusetts out of the window...

Go ahead and mail me some more questions about NH or The BIG CITY.

More great stuff from New Hampshire

Webster, by The New Hampshire State Library
Yahoo! New Hampshire
New Hampshire (std.com)
NH Access Internet
The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News

[email protected]