Stopping in Baltimore

Stewart Alsop was a powerful journalist in the 40s-50s-60s. His brother Joseph was an international journalist while Stewart covered Washington and the domestic scene. In some ways they were king-makers and mind molders.

Stewart Alsop chronicled his terminal illness in his Newsweek column. I quoted this March 11, 1974 article titled, “I Didn’t Stop in Baltimore” in my 1982 book, Please Pass the Valium.

In a dream, Alsop announced to his fellow train passengers, “We’ll be stopping in Baltimore.” As he attempted to get to the door, the train lurched throwing him to the floor. He worked his way through a series of doorways until he came to a much larger door than had previously opened. The train stopped. Alsop saw what he assumed to be the station platform.

“There was something hellishly grim about the place. Suddenly, I was quite sure I didn’t want to stop in Baltimore.” The writer remembered. He also remembered saying “We won’t stop here. Start up the train and carry on.”

The episode, much to his surprise did not happen on a railway car, but in a hospital room. The bruises were real. He had fallen as he climbed out of bed four days after an operation that produced a grim prognosis. He wrote his analysis of the dream:

“My guess is that my decision not to stop at Baltimore had something to do with it. In a kind of fuzzy, hallucinating way I knew when I announced the decision not to stop in Baltimore that it was a decision not to die.”

It has been said before. I feel it today. America is at a crossroads—history may look at today as the date the country made the decision which road would be taken.

A news commentator said recently that four pillars of Western civilization are under attack from within and without. The future of civilization as we know it is being determined by this battle.

  1. Western culture and values
  2. Capitalism and the free-market system
  3. The Judeo-Christian view of marriage and family
  4. Christianity and Christians

With the vision of Baltimore burning and the anticipation of the Supreme Court decision, my prayer is that historians will write, “We didn’t stop in Baltimore.”

Copyright ©2015 D. Dean Benton—

Writer, Wonderer, Weeper

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.