Yesterday in Morning Meeting, Academic Dean Sarah Doenmez stood up and talked about the upcoming primary and about all of the presidential candidate activity taking place in and around Dublin, NH. "Isn't New Hampshire awesome," she proclaimed. New Hampshire is awesome, but interestingly, no one from New Hampshire would actually say that. According to our visiting speaker last week, Yankee Publishing CEO Jamie Trowbridge, people in New Hampshire might actually refer to their state as "perfectly good."
Yankee Publishing, our closest neighbor in the town of Dublin, and Dublin School were both started in 1935 and we are both celebrating eighty years in our different forms of education. Yankee was started by the Sagendorph family, who felt that Yankee culture was being threatened by commercialization and mass market communication. They created a magazine to document and celebrate everything Yankee. They also publish the Old Farmers Almanac. I am currently trying to forgive the forecasters at the Almanac for predicting a cold and snowy winter!
Our friend Mr. Trowbridge talked about Yankee's move into digital publishing and social media. The students asked great questions, including one question asking about his favorite issue of Yankee. "Actually," Mr. Trowbridge responded, "I do have a favorite issue. In 1991 we published an issue In Praise of New England Frugality." I was happy he brought this issue up since one of my hopes for our students is that they learn a little (or a lot!) about the culture that shaped the school and that might be directly or indirectly shaping them. I don't think young people are always aware of the forces at work in culture, but I do hope they learn about this unique little corner of the world. Mr. Trowbridge mentioned one of his favorite examples from the magazine's attempt to poke fun of our frugality. He told the students about a story from the frugality issue in which someone suggests using lint from your dryer to stuff pillows. Now that is frugality!
Mr. Trowbridge shared a copy of the frugality issue with me and I read one article on NH frugality. Donald Hall write that, "In fact, New Hampshire is the stingiest state in the stingiest region of America, which makes it foremost in thrift, providence, prudence, parsimony, and saving." Wow, that is heady stuff. Did you know that $2000 in tax revenue was raised in 1990 from the sale of pelts of bear and small animals killed on state roads? I did not know either. Do you and your neighbors save on postage by pooling with one another to send in utility bills? Did you know that paper coffee filters are reusable? Do you trade clothing with friends so you both have a new look? Did you know one New Englander figured out how to heat his home with dirty diapers?
New Hampshire is actually a pretty good place to live, in fact it is a perfectly good place to live. Whatever perfectly good means...
ps. If you want to enjoy more from our good friends at Yankee, check out their store and consider getting a subscription to there wonderful magazine: http://store.yankeemagazine.com/store