Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Don't Get off the Boat!

In 1986 (my senior year), the class was studying "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad. Mrs. Lowry seemed well advanced in age and somewhat feeble to a group of 18 year old seniors. However, she could control a classroom with nothing more than a stern glance.

The book "Heart of Darkness" is about a man's journey up the Congo River to the inner station at the center of Africa. As with all literature studied at MBA, the story is full of symbolism: the river symbolizes life; the jungle symbolizes danger; the boat symbolizes safety from the jungle; etc.

In the middle of a lesson in mid-sentence and to everyone's surprise, Mrs. Lowry steps on top of her desk with amazing agility and raises both hands. She says in a commanding voice: "Boys! Whatever you do, don't get off the boat!" With assistance from one of my classmates, she steps off the desk and continues the lesson as if nothing happened.

I've stepped off the boat at least once or twice in the last 30 years as certainly nearly everyone has. But Mrs. Lowry's lesson is still crystal clear, like it happened just yesterday.

submitted by Jay Schmitt '86