This I Believe

Neal-Martin, Marie

  • Marie Neal-Martin, Editor and publisher of the Western Reserve Democrat, describes how she inherited from her mother and grandmother her beliefs in people, the Golden Rule, her country, and God by describing her mother's attitude in adversity and her grandmother's life after the Civil War.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mrs. Marie Neal-Martin is editor and publisher of the Western Reserve Democrat. She took over management of this Ohio weekly after her husband's death, and made a success of it when everyone predicted failure. Even this busy career fails to absorb all of Mrs. Martin's dynamic energy, and she plays an important part in her community's welfare and civic activities. Here is what she believes.
Many years ago, my husband and I were driving in northern Wisconsin when we came to a particularly hazardous hill.
With jagged cliffs on one side and a deep chasm on the other, it was a trail to be avoided, but we had to take it to get where we wanted to go. I was terribly anxious, and sensing my apprehension, my husband leaned over to me and said, "Watch it flatten out." I have seen problems of "covetness", greed, unfair competition--in harmony--flatten out under an application of the Golden Rule. I believe it to be a workable ideology.
The world of make-believe looms large in my makeup. I'm downright sorry for the boy or girl who finds no bunnies in his Easter basket.
Sorry for the husband or wife who were down the years do not take time out to renew their marriage vows; to whom a full moon has ceased to spell romance. I envy Mr. Ibsen's Peer Gynt, for his ability to so enter into make-believe that a string which he throws over the back of a chair suddenly becomes a sleigh with reindeers prancing over the snow.
My mother, who died when I was 13, was a romantic and poetic soul. On a page of her diary, which was passed on to me when I became of age, were written these words: "I play that the burners on my stove are pipes on a great organ,
and so I feed my soul and satisfy my appetite." It was gasoline in those days, and what with six children and often no help, it must have been a real task to the frail, slender girl whose marital vows had suddenly transplanted her from the land of sunshine and Negro mammies to the stern realities of an Illinois prairie. It has always been a source of a great deal of comfort to me to know that my mother named soul first, and appetite as a secondary consideration. Her choice of words, too, show a nice discrimination. One may feed but never quite satisfy the soul, but the appetite may be appeased.
By even the widest stretch of the imagination, no one could ever call me religious. But I believe in a supreme being, a god of love, and a religion of affirmation rather than supplication. I believe in the United States of America and its traditions and the fundamental principles on which it was founded. I can take little credit for this sense of loyalty. It is an inherited trait. My grandmother was of the old South. The close of the Civil War found her an embittered woman. It wasn't so much the freeing of the slaves and the dissipation of personal fortunes that made her so, but rather the wanton destruction brought about by the Northern Carpetbaggers on her beloved homeland.
To the day of her death, she would not permit a picture of Mr. Lincoln to be brought inside her house. And when my mother married a damn Yankee--that was the last straw.
I do not believe that any great event in my life has colored my views or altered my course of thinking. I am what I am, pretty much through the gift of inheritance: an inherited belief in God; an inherited love of country; an inherited faith in man.
In closing, I believe in the eternality of life. I am counting on that. And I am genuinely sorry for anyone who faces the oncoming years without reliance on such a belief.
There the creed of Marie Neal-Martin of Warren, Ohio. She is editor and publisher of the Western Reserve Democrat.