This I Believe - Rhode Island

Wednesday at 6:45 AM, 8:45 AM and 5:45 PM

Credit Scott Indermaur

Hosted by Frederic Reamer

Modeled on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow, This I Believe - Rhode Island, hosted by Frederic Reamer, is an effort to share the many stories of people of Rhode Island... the personal experiences that have helped form the opinions of your neighbors. This I Believe - Rhode Island is also an opportunity for you to share your own beliefs and experiences.

If you are interested in submitting an essay, please see our guidelines here.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Providence

Feb 3, 2015

A sense of place.  Community.  Roots.  Some of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out where we’re from, who we are, where we belong.  Oliver Wendell Holmes – the poet and physician whose son became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice – once wrote, “Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”  We hear from Ria Mirchandani about her fruitful search for a sense of home as she forges her path in life.

 

Ria Mirchandani is a senior at Brown University.  She was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, raised in Mumbai, India, and has come of age in Providence.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Diversity

Jan 27, 2015

What is it that draws so many of us to the Ocean State and keeps us here, even when opportunities elsewhere beckon?  In a word, community.  Somehow Rhode Island’s intimate and quirky scale, its mix of neighborhood and neighborhood characters – even with their sometimes rough edges – manage to pull us in and get ahold of us, a bit like flypaper.  For so many of us, Rhode Island’s complex richness seeps into our bones and, even with all its challenges, becomes part of who we are.  And that’s just what we hear from Karen Lee Ziner in this encore essay.

Karen Lee Ziner has lived in Providence since 1980.  She is a staff writer for The Providence Journal. A version of this essay previously appeared in the Providence Sunday Journal.

All of us have known someone in the midst of deep, relentless despair, someone whose challenges in life seem so intractable, so overwhelming that there doesn't appear to be a way out.  Sadly some people feel so hopeless that their will to live evaporates.  Others somehow manage to move forward toward whatever light glimmers at the end of a long, dark tunnel.  Brian Shanley is living proof of what it means to have hope -- real hope -- in the throes of agonizing anguish.

Brian Shanley grew up in Attleboro, Massachusetts, attended Providence College, and, for graduate school, Salve Regina University, where he now serves as associate dean of admissions.  Shanley lives with his wife and son in Newport, Rhode Island.

The kindness of strangers.  How wonderful it is when, out of the pure goodness of their hearts, complete strangers step in to rescue us in moments of peril.  When it occurs, unvarnished altruism is remarkable.  Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” Bill Miles is here to tell us what it’s like to be on the receiving end of truly extraordinary kindness.

 

Bill Miles, a resident of Seekonk, Massachusetts, is a professor of political science at Northeastern University.  One month before getting his scars in Ouagadougou, his new book on postcolonial legacies, Scars of Partition, was released by the University of Nebraska Press.

 

Parenting is a very tricky proposition, filled with lots of surprises – some pleasant and some, well, not so much . . . surprises that aren’t addressed in the owner’s manual.  Most parents do their best to sort it all out as they go along, hoping their instincts and judgments are good ones or, at least, not disastrous.  Our hope, of course, is that over time our children find a path in life that’s filled with meaning and purpose.  And those are the wistful sentiments we hear from Maryellen Butke.

Maryellen Butke describes herself as an avid political junkie and advocate for education and equality.  Butke advises education philanthropists to enhance their impact.  She and her partner Jo live in Providence with their children Alicia and Matthew.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Creating Beauty

Dec 30, 2014

The famed cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once opined, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  Such sentiments often conjure up images of sweeping social change.  But as we hear from Diana Jackson in this encore essay, a small group of committed people can also have a profound impact on the quality of life in our own little corner of the world here in the Ocean State.

Diana Harmon Jackson is an artist, educator, political activist, and, she reports, lover of people, especially kids and older adults. Her passions are family, friends, music, art, and, as we've just heard embedded in her eloquent words, nature.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Everyday Choices

Dec 23, 2014

How many of you feel your senses being assaulted on a daily basis by the distressingly steady and toxic flow of bad news in the world?  international conflict.  Famine.  Natural disasters.  Severe economic downturns.  Heinous crime.  The list goes on and on.  Most of us yearn for peace and safety.  We want tranquility in the small, private corners of our world and in the global community.   Darlene Van Straten shares her very personal insights about this widespread and shared challenge.

Darlene Van Straten is a technical writer who resides in Portsmouth, Rhode Island with her husband, who hails from Puli, Taiwan.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Hope and Faith

Dec 16, 2014

All of us have moments when hope seems fleeting, despite our best efforts to keep the flame aglow.  Try as we might, sometimes life’s dark clouds seem endless, so much so that it’s hard to have faith that our circumstances will brighten.  But hope we must have.  The retired Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  And our need to hold on to hope and faith is the theme of Ivy Marwil’s essay.

Ivy Elinoff Marwil has been a clinical social worker and psychotherapist for more than 35 years.  She reports that much of what she now believes about faith and hope she has learned from the people she has helped and, most recently, from her new role as grandmother.

 

This I Believe Rhode Island: Time

Dec 9, 2014

The concept of time is remarkably elusive and mysterious.  At once it seems both hauntingly infinite and extraordinarily limited.  It's truly here today and gone tomorrow.  The very wise Dr. Seuss once asked, "How did it get so late so soon?"  Joy Bianco reflects on the evolution of her own deeply personal understanding – and appreciation – of time.

Joy Bianco is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams University School of Law.  Bianco writes from her home in Warwick where she lives with her husband and four daughters.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Working The Soil

Dec 3, 2014

Madame Marie Curie, the renowned chemist and physicist who was the first female Nobel prize recipient, once said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”  And isn’t it true that perseverance in the face of daunting odds is what helps us get through life’s challenging moments?  That’s what we hear from Jennifer Bristol in this encore essay.

Jennifer Bristol is the Executive Director of Mount Hope Farm in, of all places, Bristol, Rhode Island. She reports having two amazing daughters, and lives in Pawtuxet Village with her best guy Jim and their best dog Rocket.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Gravestones

Nov 25, 2014

Perhaps most of us have spent some time anticipating our own deaths, our own mortality.  Perhaps these are but fleeting moments, or maybe not.  Have you ever pictured the gravestone meant for you, and what it might mean to those who visit your gravesite?  For many of us this may be a macabre subject, one that’s hard to embrace.  But as we hear from Nicholas Benson, gravestones can host profound messages that convey so much about the stories of our lives – who we were, what we aimed to be, the very essence of our being.

Nicholas Benson owns the John Stevens Shop in Newport, RI, a small stone carving business founded in 1705, that specializes in the design and carving of one-of-a-kind inscriptions in stone.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Revision

Nov 18, 2014

 In Plato's Apology, Socrates asserts that the unexamined life is not worth living.  While that may be a bit of an overstatement, many of us have learned during the course of our lives that self-examination that has real depth is a virtue that pays impressive dividends.  We understand ourselves better and, one would hope, enhance the meaning and purpose of our lives.  Self-reflection, and the careful revision that results, also has the capacity to refine the profoundly important words we speak and write, as we hear from Kenneth Schneyer.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Rewind

Nov 11, 2014

In A.A. Milne's classic children's story Winnie the Pooh, the beloved anthropomorphic bear asks Piglet, "What day is it?"  "It's today," squeaked Piglet.  "My favorite day," Pooh replied.  Pooh's profound message, it seems, is that it's so important for us to appreciate the moment we're in -- a moment that won't last forever -- despite whatever wishes we might have to hold tight to the most precious events in our lives.  And we hear compelling echoes of that very wise insight from Rabbi Sarah Mack.
 

   

This I Believe Rhode Island: Miracles

Nov 4, 2014

The nineteenth century novelist Joseph Conrad once wrote, “My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see.”  And that is exactly what this NPR series aims to do.  Featured essayists stitch together words that let you peek inside their core beliefs, their struggles to understand their world, their insights about what matters most in life.  Sometimes these words are expressed in prose, sometimes in poetry.  And as we hear in this encore essay featuring Rhode Island's state poet Rick Benjamin, sometimes we enjoy both poetry and prose.

Rick Benjamin is the state poet of Rhode Island.  He works in a variety of educational and community settings, and especially enjoys working with people aged six to, at this moment, 99.  Benjamin lives with his family in Pawtuxet Village.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Carnival

Oct 29, 2014

Youthful frolic.  Remember those days, filled with all manner of excursions on the wild side, curiosity-driven cavorting, and adolescent drama?  For sure, these sorts of endeavors often amount to nothing more than spontaneous delights, perhaps with a little hedonism in there for good measure.  But as we hear from Frederick Massie, on occasion these moments are filled with profound, sometimes deeply disquieting lessons.

Frederick Massie is the Rhode Island Bar Association's Director of Communications and Editor of the Rhode Island Bar Journal. A graduate of Brown University, his wide-ranging experience includes work as an educator, writer and advocate.

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