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: David's Inferno

Oct 1, 2013

Have you ever encountered moments in life when you weren't sure you had the wherewithal to climb out of bed and face another day?  Moments when you saw no light whatsoever at the end of your tunnel, when you wanted to, well, just give up and end it all?  Sadly, many people have just such moments.  The most fortunate are able to climb out of the dark abyss.  And, as we know, some are not.  We hear from David Blistein, who has written a powerful memoir about his own struggles with mental illness.

David Blistein grew up in Providence, Rhode Island and, he reports, learned to write from his father, who was on the Brown University faculty for many years.  Blistein is a graduate of Amherst College and now lives in southern Vermont.  He has worked in the publishing and advertising industries.  Blistein's books explore history, spirituality, nature, and psychology.  His most recent work is David's Inferno: My Journey through the Dark Woods of Depression.

This I Believe Rhode Island: The Power of Silence

Sep 24, 2013

Within the span of minutes this month we received essays on the meaning and power of silence in our lives.  Is this pure coincidence, or does this say something about a more widespread yearning for many of us, a wish to turn down the persistent volume in our lives, screen out the noisy amplification that manages to pervade our days and nights? As the 19th-century Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle said, sometimes "silence is more eloquent than words."   And these words reflect the quiet sentiments of Doreen Engel.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Free Poetry

Sep 17, 2013

One of the joys of living in Rhode Island is that we're surrounded by remarkably creative artists and their often provocative words, images, and sounds. We hear their music during Water Fire, listen to their oratory during a Shakespeare-in-the-park performance, and see their extraordinary art lining some of our most prominent roadways. As Lynnie Gobeille tells us, sometimes we can find the fruits of artists' labor in some very unlikely spots in the Ocean State.

Lynnie Gobeille is co-founder of Rhode Island's Origami Poems "Free Poetry" Project.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Miracles

Sep 10, 2013

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 with 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: Silence

Sep 3, 2013

Listen to your radio, very closely.  Did you hear a few moments of silence?  No, we didn't have a power failure and your radio batteries aren't on empty.  That was the sound of silence, perhaps the last thing you want coming out of your radio.  But haven't all of us discovered there are moments in our lives when we need to tune out the noise, those times when we need to close our eyes and drink in nothing but . . . silence.  With just a bit of irony, that's what Emma Dickson tells us about.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Native Plants

Aug 27, 2013

Bouncing back.  Under the best of circumstances that's what we humans do when we stumble in life.  If we're fortunate, we get up, dust ourselves off, and move on.  And hasn't nature taught us this lesson many times over, as when forests destroyed by fire manage miraculously to rejuvenate?  The poet W. H. Auden put it well:  “Healing is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.”  And that's also what we hear from Scott Turner.

In addition to his duties as the director of web communications at Brown University, Scott Turner writes a weekly nature commentary for the Providence Journal. Turner is a former land manager, park ranger and science writer. He lives in Providence with his wife and two children.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Enough

Aug 20, 2013

Living in a world of plenty, many of us struggle to temper our wish for an ever increasing supply of material possessions, our tendency to acquire more, and bigger, and better. In our more thoughtful moments, we try hard to figure out what we really need in this life, what's truly enough. In this encore essay, Jerry Landay reflects on the lessons he learned about keeping our acquisitive instincts in check.

Jerry Landay was a news correspondent for ABC and CBS, and a journalism instructor at the University of Illinois. Landay moved to Bristol, Rhode Island in 2001, where he resided until he died on August 1st.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Robin's Egg

Aug 13, 2013

Have you noticed how nature manages to teach us remarkable things, sometimes about our own lives and sometimes about life itself?  In his play As You Like It, Shakespeare wrote, "And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."  And these words echo the sentiments of Mike Fink.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Encouraging Words

Aug 6, 2013

Who among us hasn't wanted -- indeed, needed -- to hear words of encouragement when we've stumbled as we stroll along life's complicated path?  No one manages to escape moments of disappointment and some form of failure.  In those tough times, don't all of us want to be lifted by words that are truly inspirational? The renowned 19th century essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well: “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”  And those are the very sentiments we hear from Caleb Woodhouse.

Caleb Woodhouse is a 1954 graduate of Brown University and a retired history teacher. He lives in Little Compton, Rhode Island, where he and his wife Alessandra frequently exchange encouraging words.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Making Lunch

Jul 30, 2013

Have you noticed that sometimes food is much more than food?  Sometimes food connects us to special events and people in our lives, helping to shape who we become.  As the French novelist Marcel Proust said in Remembrance of Things Past, "the smell and taste of things remain poised for a long time, like souls, ready to remind us . . .”  And that's what comes to mind in Katherine Egan's essay.

Katherine Egan is an English teacher at North Smithfield High School.  She wrote this essay after challenging her students to write their own This I Believe essays. Egan now lives independently in Providence, out of her parents' house, where she successfully makes her own lunch and coffee every single day.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Fool For Love

Jul 23, 2013

Ah, love.  When it works out, the sun shines on our soul, our hearts spill over, and life is good.  But then there are those times in our lives when love seems out of reach or, even worse, the source of unspeakable pain.  In this encore essay, Shanna Wells tells us that love, in all of its stunningly complicated forms, is essential in our lives.

Shanna Wells is a writer, singer, actress, and professional advocate.  She spends her busy hours working, creating, enjoying the outdoors, and loving her two cats -- a lot.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Who You Are

Jul 16, 2013

Under the simplest of circumstances developing a clear identity during adolescence is a challenge -- a real challenge.  Add into the mix being born halfway around the world and entering a completely new culture as a very young child, and this challenge becomes that much more complicated.  In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia says, "We know what we are, but not what we may be."  Fourteen-year-old Grace Moorhead talks about who she is, and what she may be.

Grace Moorhead is entering the eighth grade at The Gordon School in East Providence, Rhode Island, where she plays field hockey and, she says, absolutely loves her art classes.  Grace was born in Hunan Province, China and adopted at 20 months of age.  She lives in Cranston with her family.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Mentors

Jul 9, 2013

Take a moment to identify the people who have influenced you the most during your lifetime. For many of us the most obvious choices, of course, are parents and teachers.  But most of us can also point to some less obvious mentors who have had a profound impact on our deepest values, the way we navigate life’s challenges, and the paths we choose as we find our way in this world.  Sadly, sometimes our most important mentors disappear from our day-to-day lives. And that’s certainly the case for Heath Capello.

Heath Capello graduated from Roger Williams University and has taught science in four different states over the past twelve years.  Most recently, he has been on the faculty at St. George’s School in Middletown.  This August Capello will be seeking new adventures -- and mentors -- as he transitions to the American School of Milan in Italy.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Comfort Food

Jul 2, 2013

What comes to mind when someone utters the phrase "comfort food"?  Does it conjure up warm images of grilled cheese sandwiches with just the right amount of gooey innards or, perhaps, the aromatic vegetable soup your favorite uncle made when you paid him a visit?  Whatever images and taste memories we hold near and dear, food has a powerful way of shaping our lives.  The author Kurt Vonnegut once said, "You can't just eat good food.  You've got to talk about it, too."  And that's exactly what we hear from 15-year-old Robin Hall.

Robin Hall just completed his freshman year at North Smithfield high School, where he is a musician, swimmer, runner and formed his school's first Quidditch Club.  Robin reports that he has grown up listening to National Public Radio.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Truth

Jun 25, 2013

It sounds a little too much like an essay question on a college application: "Please identify a book that has changed your life. Discuss." The truth is, most of us can identify a book that has changed our lives in profound ways.  Perhaps it was a book that inspired, or one that provided solace and refuge during difficult moments.  Whatever the case, books have the power to transform, and that's certainly the case for Jan Keough, as we hear in this encore essay.

Jan Keough is co-founder of the Origami Poems Project, an experiment to provide free poetry to enthusiastic readers. She lives in Cumberland with her musician husband, Kevin, and two mini-schnauzers.