This I Believe

Kemper, Lucrezia

  • Lucrezia Kemper describes how her family taught her the foundation of her beliefs and success; the value of faith in people, respect for others, kindness and generosity and security.
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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. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
Lucrezia Kemper is a vice president of Albert Frank—Gunther Law advertising agency. She grew up on a ranch in Adams County in the state of Washington and says she learned to ride before she could walk. She left college after her first year to become Mrs. Leo Empy Kemper, and to launch herself into a newspaper career. Here is her creed.
I was born in the West and spent my childhood on a roistering, balling cattle ranch, where birth was frequent and usual, and death normal, though sometimes sudden and violent. Surrounded as I
was by buckaroos of all races, and with the rim of our ranch fringing an Indian Reservation, I grew up knowing and liking people of many races and religions. I wasn’t told I shouldn’t play with a child because his skin was red, any more than I was told not to ride a horse because he was a Pinto.
There were no lines drawn at our table against those who might break bread with us, and there was always a bed for those who needed it, be it the gentle Jewish peddler, who came in the spring and fall to spread his wondrous pack on the front room floor for all to admire and buy; or grave old Chief Tomanawash, with his assorted wives and children. I grew up with a kinship for these people, and to this day they are each a part of me.
My predominantly Irish family was bound together with stains of freedom. Being Irish, each was as individual as bread and butter, and just as compatible. We all had a finger in every ranch pie, no matter of what the pie consisted: from roundups to square dances; the worry of winter blizzards to the joy of the first warm chinook, blowing spring in; or teaching the orphan calves, colts, or lambs to drink the life-giving, warm milk.
The point I am striving to make is that my family and the men and women around me established my beliefs by their daily actions. Each day was lived fully, and each night the ranch folk gave thanks in his own way: quietly with pipe and stars, plaintively with guitar and song, or rough and tumble
wrestling for relief of saddle-weary muscles. And then we all slept soundly until the next sunrise. Nobody seemed to have time to set up a lot of forbidden apples. I learned, rather, by example to do the things I should do. From heated political and world affairs discussion, I gathered a pretty fair knowledge of the world we live in. And so, my philosophy is very simple. I like people.
I think all work is honorable. If I do it well, I am a credit to myself and my community. If I do it poorly, I demean myself. I have a deep and abiding faith, and so I have never been afraid. I know my feet will lead me in the ways I am supposed to go, if I do my part. I early learned if I shared, others would share with me. As a child, I had security of mind, enough to eat, and a snug bed in which to
sleep. When I needed it, there was always a strong hand to hold mine.
So I believe the greatest gift a person can have is security in his family, faith in himself, a respect for his country, and a belief in the Father of all creatures. When you have these, you have been given a foundation on which you can build to any height. I know, for that was my family’s gift to me.
That was Mrs. Lucrezia Kemper, an advertising executive who lives and works in San Francisco.