White Is Made of Many Colors

Duer, Caroline


  • Caroline Duer describes most of her beliefs through a poem she wrote which emphasizes the value of enjoying simple pleasures, showing kindness and courtesy, working, avoiding excessive caution, meeting obligations, being courageous, showing tolerance, and avoiding regrets, for "the day is dark; it may be fair tomorrow." This episode is a rebroadcast of an earlier airing.
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. We bring you an earlier broadcast which is being repeated because of the special interest it aroused. Here is Edward R. Murrow as he first introduced the guest.
This I Believe. Miss Caroline Duer of New York City is 87. She has been a writer, an artist and a poet. She also conducted a radio program on etiquette, and headed a medical unit in France during World War I. She is still a vital, active woman, with an irrepressible sense of humor. These are some of the things she has come to believe in the course of her long and active life.
I’m convinced that any religion in which a man is good and unbigoted is a good religion for him and should be held in
esteem. Just as white is made up of many colors, so every section in the whole of it is many tinted. This is true of faiths.
To know thy self seems to me, truly, the beginning of wisdom, and one cannot start the study too early. I believe in fastidious honesty toward others, and I would try to demand the same of myself to myself. I believe in justice, generosity, and kindness. To cultivate a sense of proportion, a sense of humor is a great help in daily life. The “put yourself in his place” attitude, even if later you find you're obliged to knock him out of it, is an admirable attitude. I forget which of our great Generals said, “Let the other man tell his story first.” But it is a good principle, a part of that wisdom and understanding, which helps to keep the world going round, even in the rather wobbly way it is going.
I believe in courage, in facing whatever has to be faced, and taking pride in so doing.
I believe in patience, in politeness, in reason, and routine—reason in the laying out of my day, routine in following my own rules—and in doing whatever is to be done, as well as I can do it.
Perhaps I can sum up my beliefs most clearly by quoting a verse of mine, which is really more grave in intent than it may appear at first sight. I call it Advice Gratuitous About Living.
Collect the most agreeable thoughts and think them,
But face the least agreeable without dread.
Esteem good foods, good wines,
And eat and drink them in company or with a book, instead.
Dress, though alone, as well as you are able.
It seems to make the meal more palatable.
Be reasonable and courteous in commanding,
Show kindness—it comes back a thousand fold.
Tutor your heart to wisdom’s understanding,
And none shall note if it be warm or cold.
Dare to ask fate for life’s supremist portion,
And be not prisoner to your own precaution.
What time your work days in the world are over,
Find pleasant tasks for head and hand at home.
The chances are that you may yet discover
Some hidden talent for the years to come.
But shirk no obligations, though they don’t you.
These are the things that may return to haunt you.
Fear little and you'll little have for fearing.
Regret is wasted in the master plan.
Bear what you must and profit by the bearing.
Respect all creeds, believe in what you can,
And on your own mishaps spend not much sorrow.
The day is dark, it may be fair tomorrow.
That was a repeat of an earlier broadcast by Miss Caroline Duer, a New Yorker who we'd say, has in her late eighties, a fresher, more youthful approach to life than many people less than half her age.