WPSU's This I Believe

This I Believe: I Believe In Sharing Food

Aug 3, 2017
Samantha Bastress
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I believe in sharing food.

Growing up in Penns Valley, I became accustomed to a community that shared the fruits of its labor. Fresh produce was abundant due to the many farmers in the area, and neighbors shared recipes and baked dishes for friends in need.

This I Believe: I Believe In Connections

Jul 20, 2017

I believe in connections.

I see them everywhere, every day. Whether it be between a comment a housemate made and a thought I had a couple months ago, or between an article I read online and the rules of a card game I used to play when I was younger.  But the best kinds of connections are the ones between people.

Greg Petersen in a radio studio
Bill Wallace / WPSU

This is my second This I Believe essay. The first was in 2008 when I extolled the virtues of the Chicago Cubs as a metaphor for the game of life. You may have setbacks, but like the Cubs you have to persevere. Now that my Cubbies have reached the pinnacle of baseball, it’s time to set new sights.

I’ve just retired from a 45-year career in public broadcasting and to say I believe in pubic media, would be an understatement. Besides having a mission to inform, educate and even entertain, public media’s role in today’s society is more essential than ever. 

I believe my dad watches over me.

This I Believe: I Believe In Being An Advocate

Jun 8, 2017

I believe in being an advocate.

When I was younger, I wanted another sibling. As much as I loved my two little brothers, I always wished for a sister. Thankfully at the age of 10, I was finally granted my wish. My parents told me I had a new baby sister on the way. I was also told something else. My sister was going to have something a little extra special about her.  She was going to have Down syndrome. As a 4th grader, I didn’t really know much about this. I was mostly just worried, unsure of what Down syndrome would mean for me and what it would mean for my baby sister.

This I Believe: I Believe In Switching Seats

May 25, 2017
Lilly Caldwell
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I believe in switching seats.

When I was in 5th grade I was great at switching seats. I sat at different lunch tables every day. I hung out with people older than me. I hung out with people my age. I had tons of friends. But I didn’t have any I was super close with. That all changed when I reached 6th grade. Starting the second semester, I was only at one lunch table; I only sat in one seat. I was part of something called "Super Squad."

This I Believe: I Believe In Working With My Hands

May 11, 2017

Like many children, I had a set of blocks and a tree house to play with when I was little. Mine were special, though - my grandfather built them. Dazzled by his ability to work with his hands and obsessed with firefighters, I asked him to build me a working fire truck. Although the finished product did not quite match my dream, it was a mechanical marvel and a testament to my grandfather’s skill. It was made almost entirely of wood, including the steering wheel, axles, and ladder.

 Biyun Song and her grandma on a snowy mountain
Biyun Song

My grandma is 60 years older than me. But that doesn’t stop us from traveling together.

Our footprints cover many regions of the world -- from Sichuan, China to Taiwan, from Thailand to South Korea, from France to Italy. We have been traveling together for more than 15 years.

I Believe In Making Bad Art

Jan 19, 2017
Meghan Shiels holding a painting of a Nittany Lion and a night scene.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

A few months ago I set out to paint a picture. I sat there with a blank canvas, paints, and brushes and imagined how beautiful the end result would be. I could already envision it hanging in my room, displayed proudly for all to see. But as the painting progressed, I began to realize that the beautiful painting in my head was likely to stay only in my imagination. The colors were ugly, the image was misshapen, and the image was taking on a disturbing resemblance to a child’s finger painting. By the time I was finished, it was truly awful.

This I Believe: I Believe In Coffee

Dec 8, 2016
Essayist Becca DeGregorio
Min Xian / WPSU

This essay originally aired on September 7, 2016.

I Believe in Redwoods

Nov 24, 2016
Essayist Mark Ballora
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

This essay originally aired on October 15, 2015. 

I grew up in Mill Valley, California which is a funky town surrounded by beautiful redwood trees. Now, I live in State College with my wife and son. The two towns are separated by almost an entire country, and have different histories. What could they possibly have in common? There’s one thing in particular that makes them both dear to me.

This I Believe: I Believe In Lake Wobegon

Aug 18, 2016

I believe in Lake Wobegon. I know, it's just a fictional place created by Garrison Keillor for his radio show “A Prairie Home Companion.” Yet it became much more. I believe we all owe Garrison Keillor a debt of gratitude for helping to preserve the American Dream.

This I Believe: I Believe In Asking Questions

Jul 25, 2016
Talia Cowen.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I have this friend who gets to know people by interrogating them. It’s as intense as it sounds. She starts with the basics: “Where did you grow up?” “What’s your favorite movie?” “What’s your favorite color?” But it quickly gets more and more obscure. “What was the first concert you ever went to?” and “What’s your favorite kind of bread?”

And so on. She is relentless.

I’ve seen it happen several times, each time wilting in shame and embarrassment by proxy. I anticipate how weird the interrogatee must think she is, and how bizarre I must seem by association.

This I Believe: I Believe In Perfect Moments

May 26, 2016
Essayist Vicka Pevzner
Vicka Pevzner

I believe in perfect moments.  They don’t have to be big, forever memories like kids’ graduation or seeing Paris for the first time.  They can occur on an otherwise regular day or a regular night when one might think that nothing had happened at all.

This I Believe: I Believe In Family Dinners

May 13, 2016
Essayist Jaimee Kester
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

I believe in family dinners.

Every Sunday evening like clockwork, my cousins, aunts and uncles would appear at my grandparent’s old farmhouse for dinner. I never thought twice about our weekly tradition, it was business as usual for my family. It wasn’t until I left for college and wasn’t able to go, I realized what my grandmother created for our family.

This I Believe: I Believe In Hard Work

Apr 28, 2016
Essayist Kayla Fish
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

What does five o’clock in the morning look like to you? Does it look like the back of your eyelids as you lie asleep, warm in your bed? For me, it looks like a dark and quiet walk to work.

I believe in the value of hard work.

I’ll always remember the days leading up to my 14th birthday, which, my parents constantly reminded me, was when I could work for the first time. I started a job the next week at the ski resort down the road from my house.

This I Believe: I Believe In The Companionship Of Dogs

Apr 14, 2016
Essayist Jessie Setlock
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

When I was 8 years old, I remember the day I met my best friend. He was an adorable, fluffy black and white puppy with tiny brown dots for eyebrows. He sprinted down the hallway to meet me for the first time, like he knew how close we would become. In just days, this Border Collie we named Reilly became my constant companion.

I spent much of my free time that summer teaching Reilly commands like “sit,” “paw,” “down,” “stay,” and “come!” He picked up on them in no time and was the most well behaved pup that we had ever seen.

I Believe in Unlikely Role Models

Jan 22, 2015
Essayist Gwen Oliver
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

I believe that anyone, or anything, can be an inspiration to others.

Back at a time when I had just started to use the big-kid swings, my family adopted a dog that we named Simon.  He was a short and lumpy black Labrador mix who toddled around awkwardly. He ran slightly to the right, and would lay down by throwing himself to the floor. Despite his gracelessness, Simon quickly became one of my favorite “people” in the world. His ungainliness masked a compassion and selflessness beyond that of any human being I’ve ever met.

I Believe in Paying it Forward

Oct 16, 2014
Photo of author, Jennie Slota
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Growing up, one of my mother and my’s favorite movies was “Pay It Forward.” The film is about a boy who is given a strange assignment in his 7th grade class. The overall goal of the assignment is to do three good deeds for people without any actual repayment. Instead, the next person is supposed to do a good deed for three other people.

I never imagined one of my all-time favorite movies could actually happen in real life. Well, not to me anyway. But it did! That’s why I believe in paying it forward.

I Believe in Strathmere

Jul 24, 2014
Meghan Garrity
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I’ve spent every summer at my grandmother’s shore house for as long as I can remember. It’s a simple house—small, and somewhat outdated compared to the sizeable beachfront estates on the New Jersey coastline. But if you look carefully, the fingerprints of her eleven children and fourteen grandchildren touch every inch of her little sun-stained cottage.

I Believe in the Power of Silence

Jul 10, 2014
Sam Janesch
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Quiet. Shy. Introverted. That’s how people described me growing up. I still hear these descriptors sometimes today.

As a kid, my mom dragged my brother and me around as she shopped every week. I would sit in department stores and hear the usual compliments about how well-mannered I was, how obedient. Yes, I was shy. And yes, my perpetual silence may have originated from some level of social fear.

But it was more than a shyness that kept me quiet. It was the practice of active listening. I believe in the power of listening.

I Believe in Ice Cream Floats

Jun 26, 2014
Crystal Jones
Emily Reddy / WPSU

I believe in ice cream floats.

My best memory of my dad is making Coke floats with him in our kitchen in Bossier City, Louisiana. Two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream in the blender. Enough Coke to make the scoops separate and form tiny islands. (Pepsi was inferior) (Diet Coke was worse) Blend. Three pulses for good luck. Plastic tumblers. Straw.

Perfection.

Go Ahead, Talk to Strangers

Jun 12, 2014
Fenchak
Kristin Fenchak

Sometimes I think we’re too closed off. We’re too afraid to smile at the mailman passing us on the sidewalk or to strike up a friendly conversation with the person next to us in the elevator. We opt instead to look down at our phones or up at the ceiling. I’ll admit it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in myself. But a chance encounter challenged me to take an interest in the lives of others.

I believe in talking to strangers.

I Believe in Retracing My Steps

May 29, 2014
Lucy Green
Lucy Bryan Green

I believe in retracing my steps—in ambling over the same gnarled roots, passing beneath the same thick tree limbs, hopping from boulder to boulder in the same spring-fed creek, over and over again. Since I moved to this Pennsylvania Valley nearly six years ago, I have crisscrossed the wild acres on the north side of Tussey Mountain too many times to count. I begin at the Shingletown Gap parking lot. From there, my feet carry me past a reservoir, into a grove of evergreens and rhododendrons, then west, over a log bridge.

I Live More on My Bicycle

May 15, 2014
Daisy Philtron
Emily Reddy

I believe that I live more when I ride my bicycle.  My bicycle opens doors that don't exist from the wheel of a car, or in the belly of a bus.  A trip to the grocery store becomes an adventure of balanced bags, shortcuts on bicycle paths, and smiles from drivers shaking their heads at the six bags of groceries strapped to the side of my bicycle.  A late night ride home from a friend's house showcases the stars.  Even better, a ride across the country, or across a continent, turns a mere month of living into a lifetime worth of adventures.

I Believe in Candy Crush Saga

May 1, 2014
Molly Munnell
Molly Munnell

As an active college student, I’m constantly bouncing like a ping pong ball from my dorm to class to the library and back again. I make lists of the multitude of things I need to do: take care of laundry, write a paper, go to a study group, grab dinner with friends. Sometimes my day doesn’t end until I crawl into bed at 3 AM. Stress can build up after weeks of this hectic lifestyle, and sometimes I feel like the running around will never end. But no matter how busy my day is, I always take a few minutes to relax before I go to sleep. Almost every night without fail, I curl up in bed, pull out my cell phone and continue my battle against brightly colored pieces of candy for the extent of five short lives. Yes, for those who might have guessed, I am indeed a proud player of the popular smartphone game Candy Crush Saga.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, Candy Crush Saga is a puzzle game that involves swapping and matching multicolored candy. It’s mostly mindless and yes, some would even say it’s a waste of time, but for me, it’s a lifesaver.

I Believe in Gratitude

Apr 18, 2014
Wagner This I Believe
Johanna Wagner

In the summer of 2012, I had a lot for which to be grateful. My husband and I were expecting our first child in early September. As an anxious mother-to-be I spent those early summer months devouring books, movies, articles and just about anything I could find about babies and those first crucial weeks. I was thrilled and terrified imagining what it would be like in a few short months. Never once did I think that I might not be there to experience it myself.