It’s always puzzled me how a state like New Hampshire can assimilate so many outsiders and flatlanders and still retain its character and its quirks. I guess when you move into a region with deep, strong roots you don’t get planted, you get grafted — the place affects you as much as, or more than, you affect it.
When we decided to develop a story about “true” Yankees for this issue, I had another chance to ponder this puzzle. With most of the people here in the Granite State from somewhere else, are we facing an authenticity deficit?
Well, have no fear, authentic, dyed-in-the-wool Yankees still live and breathe and operate all over New Hampshire, and they are still infusing their direct offspring and the many “grafts” they encounter with classic values, attitudes and perspectives.
Speaking as a graft, myself, I know how this can work. The South, where I come from, may have a laid-back image of long, sleepy summers, but it’s really a place in constant flux, migrations, construction and reinvention. My close Southern family lives in four different states. Since moving to New Hampshire I’ve lived in the same house for 27 years and held the same job for 20, both personal records for me.
While this does not make me an official Yankee by any stretch, it does illustrate the influence of the local culture. Lynn Tryba, who wrote this month’s “Damn Fine Yankees” story, notes that “unlike people who travel around the world in search of something only to find it upon their return, a Yankee often never leaves.”
It’s worth pointing out that this magazine, although only 14 years old if you go by our current name, is 25 years old this month if you trace it back to its roots.
Founded in a small office in the Gate City by David Gregg (a surname that is famously of ancient Yankee stock) and his wife Patricia (another graft from a Southern state), Nashua Magazine was ahead of its time, using sophisticated (for the day) desktop publishing and innovative printing techniques. The Greggs soon acquired Manchester Magazine and, under the masthead of NH Editions, began spinning off other regional versions and special publications with a goal of encompassing the entire state. Their vision eventually came to pass after a sale of the company and with much of the growth taking place under new leadership, but what you see today is really a successful graft on those deep, strong roots.
An anniversary is really just a number, a roll-over on some invisible odometer, but the influence of the hard work and creative efforts of visionary founders is a constant, no matter how many years click by.