Julia Morgan's original drawings for our Clubhouse, Courtesy of Cal Poly Archives

OCTOBER 2016 - "Ev'ry Heart Beats True" by Cyndi Runstrom

October 19, 2016 11:14 AM | Linda Wilson (Administrator)

“Ev'ry heart beats true 'neath the Red, White, and Blue” - George Cohen

In just about ten days we will be hosting our exciting Sip, Sample, and Sparkle event. The committee's celebration will delight us with the glamor of the 1920's and 30's, reminiscent of the times our club was founded and our Clubhouse constructed* In that day Calvin Coolidge was our 30th President serving from 1923-1929. He is described as a man of quiet humor and of few words. He chose them carefully and made them count, “Patriotism is easy to understand in America – it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”

This November our General Meeting falls the day before our National Election and only several days before Veteran's Day. In this Patriotic year we most certainly will turn those who came before us for inspiration. This month we celebrate A Patriotic Thanksgiving – A Salute and a Retirement. We will also thank those special community members who were so instrumental in helping us achieve our listing on the National Registry of Historic Places. Please come and join us as we raise our spirits, toast our history, and retire a symbol of our patriotism.

I leave you now with Creed  - by Hal Borland 

I am an American: That's the way we put it, simply, without any swagger, without any brag, in those four plain words.

We speak them softly, just to ourselves.

We roll them on the tongue, touching every syllable, getting the feel of them, the enduring flavor.

We speak them humbly, thankfully, reverently: I am an American.

They are more than words, really. They are the sum of the lives of a vast multitude of men and women and wide-eyed children.

They are a manifesto to mankind; speak those four words anywhere in the world -- yes, anywhere -- and those who hear will recognize their meaning.

They are a pledge. A pledge that stems from a document which says: "When in the course of human events," and goes on from there.

A pledge to those who dreamed that dream before it was set to paper, to those who have lived it since, and died for it.

Those words are a covenant with a great host of plain Americans, Americans who put their share of meaning into them.

Listen, and you can hear the voices echoing through them, words that sprang white-hot from bloody lips, scornful lips, lips a tremble with human pity:

"Don't give up the ship! Fight her till she dies... Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead! . . . Do you want to live forever? . . . Don't cheer, boys; the poor devils are dying."

Laughing words, June-warm words, words cold as January ice:

"Root, hog, or die. .. I've come from Alabama with my banjo. . . Pike's Peak or bust! . . . Busted, by God! . . . When you say that, smile.... Wait till you see the whites of their eyes.... With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right.... I am not a Virginian, but an American."

You can hear men in assembly summoned, there in Philadelphia, hear the scratch of their quills as they wrote words for the hour and produced a document for the ages.

You can hear them demanding guarantees for which they suffered through the hell of war, hear a Yankee voice intoning the text of ten brief amendments.

You can hear the slow cadences of a gaunt and weary man at Gettysburg, dedicating not a cemetery, but a nation.

You can hear those echoes as you walk along the streets, hear them in the rumble of traffic; you can hear them as you stand at the lathe, in the roaring factory; hear them in the clack of train wheels, in the drumming throb of the air liner; hear them in the corn fields and in the big woods and in the mine pits and the oil fields.

But they aren't words any longer; they're a way of life, a pattern of living.

They're the dawn that brings another day in which to get on the job.

They're the noon whistle, with a chance to get the kinks out of your back, to get a bowl of soup, a plate of beans, a cup of coffee into your belly.

They're evening, with another day's work done; supper with the wife and kids; a movie, or the radio, or the newspaper or a magazine -- and no Gestapo snooping at the door and threatening to kick your teeth in.

They are a pattern of life as lived by a free people, freedom that has its roots in rights and obligations:

The right to go to a church with a cross or a star or a dome or a steeple, or not to go to any church at all; and the obligation to respect others in that same right.

The right to harangue on a street corner, to hire a hall and shout your opinions till your tonsils are worn to a frazzle; and the obligation to curb your tongue now and then.

The right to go to school, to learn a trade, to enter a profession, to earn an honest living; and the obligation to do an honest day's work.

The right to put your side of the argument in the hands of a jury; and the obligation to abide by the laws that you and your delegates have written in the statute books.

The right to choose who shall run our government for us, the right to a secret vote that counts just as much as the next fellow's in the final tally; and the obligation to use that right, and guard it and keep it clean.

The right to hope, to dream, to pray; the obligation to serve.

These are some of the meanings of those four words, meanings we don't often stop to tally up or even list.

Only in the stillness of a moonless night, or in the quiet of a Sunday afternoon, or in the thin dawn of a new day, when our world is close about us, do they rise up in our memories and stir in our sentient hearts.

Only then? That is not wholly so -- not today!

For today we are drilling holes and driving rivets, shaping barrels and loading shells, fitting wings and welding hulls,

And we are remembering Wake Island, and Bataan, and Corregidor, and Hong Kong and Singapore and Batavia;

We are remembering Warsaw and Rotterdam and Rouen and Coventry.

Remembering, and muttering with each rivet driven home: "There's another one for remembrance!"

They're plain words, those four. Simple words.

You could write them on your thumbnail, if you chose, Or you could sweep them all across the sky, horizon to horizon.

You could grave them on stone, you could carve them on the mountain ranges.

You could sing them, to the tune of "Yankee Doodle."

But you needn't. You needn't do any of those things, For those words are graven in the hearts of 130,000,00 people, they are familiar to 130,000,000 tongues, every sound and every syllable.

But when we speak them we speak them softly, proudly, gratefully:

I am an American.

(published September 1942 Saturday Evening Post)

An American Author and Journalist, Hal Borland was born at the turn of the last Century,

May 14, 1900. He grew up in Colorado, and graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1923. After serving in the Naval Reserve he worked in the publishing industry. From 1937 – 1943 he was a staff writer for the New York Times, as both a reporter and journalist. He had his own literary career and is best known for his vivid descriptions of local cultural color throughout various geographic locals. He wove rich visual images with the use of native dialects. He is frequently remembered for his novel: When Legends Die, set in the south western United States. Borland died in February 1978. 

* The Monday Club - formed in 1924, Incorporated in 1930.

The Clubhouse constructed 1933-34 and dedicated May 11, 1934


  • October 20, 2016 3:12 PM | Joyce Zorger
    WOW!!! Never read that before. Makes me proud to be an American. Thanks, Cyndi
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