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.

Family mementos and memories.  For many of us they’re vitally important – and full of vitality, keeping loved ones near to our hearts, especially once they’re no longer with us.  Precious trinkets, heirlooms, one-of-a-kind photographs, this is the stuff that binds us to the people we care about. The novelist Saul Bellow once wrote, “Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”  And as we hear from Reed Caster in this encore essay, profound connections are sometimes forged from the most modest inheritances.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Seasons

Apr 15, 2015

No doubt you have noticed how our lives ebb and flow, much like the seasons.  Both literally and figuratively we get to experience the wonder of stunningly beautiful spring days and the bitter assault delivered by the occasional winter blizzard.  Such is life.  Indeed, seasons seem to be able to teach us so much about coping with life's inevitable ups and downs, including its bittersweet moments.  Consider the quote penned by the French Nobel existentialist Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."  These are the sentiments echo

This I Believe Rhode Island: Empathy

Apr 7, 2015

Empathy – real empathy – is a mysterious phenomenon.  It’s reasonable to ask whether we have the capacity to truly tune into other people’s experiences, particularly when they’re traumatic.  Perhaps we get closest to real empathy when we’re able to draw on our own compelling experiences that somehow approximate those of the people we care about most.  It may not be a perfect fit, but it may be as close as we can get.  And that’s what we hear from B. J. Rich.

B.J. Rich is a nurse clinician and educator. She recently visited England to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Kindertransport and connect with the renowned Attenborough family, who had taken in her mother during World War II.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Still Winter

Mar 31, 2015

Nature can teach us so much about our world, about its glory and its anguish.  In nature we find so many lessons about hardiness, resilience, triumph and, yes, destruction and death.  The British poet William Wordsworth captured this sentiment in one line of his profound 18th-century poem entitled The Tables Turned: “Come forth into the light of things, let Nature be your teacher.”  And that’s what we hear from Meghan Elizabeth Kallman.

Meghan Elizabeth Kallman is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Brown University. She is a musician, a climate activist, co-founder of the Prison Op/Ed Project, and teaches at the Rhode Island state prison.

Imagine what it must be like to live your life as a world renowned cardiologist, a celebrated medical scholar, and an international spokesperson for physicians concerned about the daunting implications of nuclear weapons. Life is chock full of meaning, purpose, and never-ending challenge. Now imagine what it must be like to shift both speed and gears abruptly as you cope with the unexpected news that you must now be a patient - a patient who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and dementia. Indeed, this was the life course for the late Dr. Tom Graboys until his recent death.  In this encore essay, Dr. Graboys reflects on his deeply personal and poignant journey, and his inspiring determination to live his life to the fullest.


Dr. Thomas Graboys died on January 5, 2015.  He was Clinical Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School; President Emeritus of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation; and former attending cardiologist at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Lown Cardiovascular Center. Dr. Graboys, who grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts, became a patient himself after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and dementia. He published a book about his personal battle, Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Relationships

Mar 17, 2015

Ah, relationships.  Deep down, we know we can’t live without them.  When all is well, they sustain us, protect us, nurture us.  And then, well, there are those times when relationships get so complicated we may be tempted to move to a remote iceberg to avoid them.  But as we hear from Larry Shushansky, some relationships – especially those rooted in deep family connections – are hard to sever.  Sometimes what they require is sincere, thoughtful, and truly principled navigation.

Virginia native Larry Shushansky is a licensed social worker in private practice in Providence. He maintains the website

This I Believe Rhode Island: Laughter

Mar 11, 2015

All of us need some well-timed humor and frivolity in our lives.  Laughter – whether a quiet chuckle or full-throated guffaw – helps us cope with life’s inevitable dark moments and can help us avoid taking ourselves and others too seriously.  The poet E. E. Cummings once famously wrote, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”  And that’s what we hear from Mike Fink.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Leadership

Mar 4, 2015

All of us have discovered how valuable skilled leadership is in our lives, whether from wise parents, gifted bosses, or anyone else who led some task of which we’ve been a part.  Of course, not all leaders have the right stuff, but when they do their guidance can be magical.  The scholar Joseph Badaracco wrote a wonderful book entitled Leading Quietly.  Jennifer Bristol talks about some powerful metaphors that inspire her quiet leadership.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Winter

Feb 24, 2015

Here we are, right smack in the heart of another New England winter.  For some, this stretch of months with early sunsets is filled with dread -- frosty temperatures, snow piles to shovel, and ice patches to dodge.  But for others of us, this wintry mix is the stuff of pure delight.  As the poet Robert Frost wrote, "You can't get too much winter in the winter."  And we hear similar sentiments in this encore essay from Gabriel Warren.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Parenting Recipe

Feb 17, 2015

Every parent discovers, sooner or later, that the parenting journey is full of surprises, some remarkably pleasant and some, well, not so much.  Haven't many of us yearned for the nonexistent owner's manual to help us navigate those unusually challenging situations that parenting somehow manages to produce?  Laura Rossi Totten shares her unique take on the parenting lessons she has learned, courtesy of some very special moments with her daughter.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Overcoming Racism

Feb 10, 2015

Sadly, the news continues to provide all of us with a steady diet of ugly stories about racism in America, a nagging challenge that persists in far too many corners of our world.   Rosa Parks, the courageous civil rights activist who refused to give up her bus seat nearly 60 years ago in Montgomery, Alabama once said:  “Racism is still with us.  But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.”  And we hear echoes of these sentiments more than a half century later from seventeen-year-old Alannah Bareham.

Alannah Bareham is a lifelong Rhode Islander and a junior at the Providence Country Day School.  Alannah reports that she loves physics as much as art and is passionate about painting and running.

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.