When I learned I had been accepted to an internship with a publishing company, I was envisioning a standardized office building: whitewashed walls, particle-board furniture, a spattering of those inspirational posters with captions like “teamwork” and “determination.” If I was lucky, maybe I would even have a windowless cubicle of my own.
But Yankee Publishing is not that kind of place. It’s located in the heart of Dublin, New Hampshire, a place that doesn’t get much more small-town New England. I was familiar with the area from my childhood. When I was growing up in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, my uncle would pile all five of us cousins in the pickup and hop the border to take us swimming at nearby Dublin Lake. To get there, we would drive through downtown Dublin. It’s not much more than a few seconds of library and town hall before it’s gone—probably one of the few places left in America that can still rightfully be called a “village.”
So I shouldn’t have been surprised, entering my new work place, that it felt more like the comfort of my grandmother’s house than an uptight office complex. The building has the easygoing presence of a farmhouse, or a barn, and it flaunts the same country red. Inside, the pine-paneled walls give the same impression. It feels original, historic, and homey. It feels like New England.
With each day I came to understand the reasoning. Yankee Magazine is a publication intensely involved with its own history. Editor-in-Chief Jud Hale, whose uncle Rob Sagendorph started Yankee in 1935, is still on staff after 54 years. Sagendorph’s photo looks over the main stairwell here, and his vision remains in place. Flipping through the back issues (they’re all on hand here at the office) is like traveling back in time. Each page is a chronicle of New England’s past, its people and its culture.
Here at Yankee, that heritage is something to be proud of. The break room holds a vintage Coke machine, where the cans still only cost fifty cents. Down the hall, an old oak office sign is on display, noticeably aged but beautifully preserved. Most of the employees get their lunch down the street at the Dublin General Store, where a massive sandwich rings up fewer than five dollars.
But it’s not that this company is stuck in the past. It’s something else. Something in the fact that even the high tech Keurig machine serves Vermont local Green Mountain Coffee. It’s about knowing where you come from.
That’s critical knowledge when you’re working towards the future. The editors here plan their issues years in advance. Imagine my amazement when they first started discussing projects for 2014—the issue due out next month hasn’t even been completed! Then, in the same conversation, somebody else would reference an article printed in Yankee fifteen years ago. Everyone here is looking simultaneously towards the past and into the future. It’s all part of the timeless legacy that is Yankee Magazine.
I’m finally starting to settle in to that strange rhythm. My workstation isn’t exactly an office, but two of its three walls are made of real wood. And it has a window. I can’t see much from it, except the steeple of the nearby church, and the weathervane atop it. But still, it’s a view. And, if nothing else, I’ll always know where the winds of change are coming from. And where they’re headed.