You might remember my review of the Connection Amish magazine from earlier in the year, in which I described it as “one of my favorites” and “pretty packed with information and material”.
While in Topeka, Indiana this summer I was heading down main street and glanced over at a pleasant-looking but otherwise non-descript little building on the south side of the avenue. Looking closer, what should I see but the Connection logo on the front?
It was then I recalled that Topeka was the HQ for this magazine which I had first encountered in the home of a Pennsylvania Amish friend the previous year. I knew I had to stop in.
I had a chance to meet both Mary Alice Yoder and briefly her daughter Doretta on that trip. I think I caught Doretta at the end of the day hard at work; it looked like deadline time, so I didn’t want to linger, just get the latest issue and go!
The next morning I dropped back in and enjoyed a nice talk with Mary Alice, and heard a little more about Topeka happenings, the Connection story, and how this chunky magazine gets put together each month.
Mary Alice is kind and warm, with a great sense of humor. Since then I’ve enjoyed corresponding with her from 5000 miles away while here in Poland, and look forward to my next visit to Indiana. I’ve also since had a good chat with founder Nancy Amor on the phone, who obviously cares a lot about putting out a quality publication.
I want to thank the Connection for supporting this site, and encourage anyone who enjoys wholesome monthly reading to give it a try. There really are a ton of features and columns in each month’s issue, including: Home Cookin’, Hen Party, Featured Craftsman, School Days, The Poet’s Porch, Swiss Gems, Hoosier Doodles, and on and on.
Also, I’ve always been curious about how Plain publications get put together. So I asked Nancy, Mary Alice, and Doretta to share a bit about the behind-the scenes of their magazine. I think you’ll enjoy today’s Q-and-A:
Amish America: How and when did you get the idea for The Connection?
Nancy, Mary Alice, Doretta:The idea came to Nancy Amor; Publisher/Editor, in 2003. With the encouragement of a few special people, including the late David Otto, Nancy (age 50 at the time) went on with her idea, asking God for the name of the young person who’s going to continue this project when she retires. Immediately Doretta Yoder’s (Amish) name came to her. With Mary Alice Yoder (also Amish/Doretta’s mom) being her long-time friend Nancy decided to ask them both to join in this adventure. Thus the start of The Connection magazine.
How would you describe the magazine?
The Connection magazine includes both serious & humorous stories, fiction and non-fiction. You will find inspirational thoughts & parts that bring laughter, which is good medicine for the soul. It contains contests for children & adults, recipes, crafts, children’s stories, and much more.
How did/do you find your writers? Who are they?
In the beginning we begged and started with asking people we knew. We asked some who had been writing for other newspapers or magazines. We feel we were led to some very talented writers.
Now we don’t need to ask for new writers because people volunteer. We get adult entries in all the time and if we find a talented writer we will keep the name in our files.
Currently our writers are from 10 states and Canada. We have mostly Amish, with a few non-Amish writers. We are one big Connection family.
Who reads The Connection? Is it only for an Amish readership?
The magazine was designed with Amish in mind, but you definitely don’t have to be Amish to enjoy it! Everyone enjoys The Connection!
How do you put the magazine together?
Nancy does the photography & the design layout. Mary Alice handles mail; incoming & outgoing, and gets stories typed. Doretta is in charge of editing and the subscription list. Printing and mailing are done at Mignone Communications, Huntington, Indiana.
There’s more work involved since we accept handwritten articles from our Amish writers without the modern technology. Since The Connection is a monthly publication we find that the work on one issue overlaps with the next. There’s no downtime!
What makes your magazine popular?
We have many unique writers and every reader will find some writer they can relate to; maybe from their growing up years or at the present time.
We have colored pages in our magazine, photos and glimpses into Amish life.
We have interests for men, women & children of all ages which sets us apart from most magazines that will just focus on getting readership in one of these 3 categories.
The Connection makes a great present; Mary Alice let me know that they do get a lot of gift subscriptions this time of year (or really I guess it’s 12 monthly gifts in the mailbox spread out over a whole year!).