Recently there was some really big news on Shelter Island. An event of immense proportion with a potentially explosive outcome…the school boiler was on the fritz and the whole school had to be evacuated.
Imagine the shock and horror of students who were about to take a test. Or those just waiting to turn in their homework in the next class. I think of all those poor, innocent, impressionable young souls, just longing to spend hours and hours in class, looking pensively out of huge windows into the bleak January cold. Imagine the panic and sorrow they experienced when they heard the announcement that the school would be evacuated.
Many students were heard to shout, “Thank God!” “Hallelujah!” “Free at Last!.” I figure that those were the more sensitive and devout students. They probably formed prayer groups on the lawn of the school and prayed for the old boiler. They prayed a cure would be found soon so they could return to their classes.
Some, okay, many, other students were heard to whisper profanities—yes, right here on Shelter Island, there are young people who know profanities. I believe it was most likely the shock of being torn from their concentrations that caused so many to curse. They were probably contemplating topics for their future doctoral thesis when the boiler event happened.
I think of all of them standing in the cold, wondering, will school be closed early? Will they be sent home? The thought of early release, being forced to raid their refrigerators at home ahead of schedule and play extra hours of video games…those poor darlings.
Years from now, they will all recall the event at high school reunions, and remember what they were doing the day the boiler broke. The big event my generation had was the middle-aged teacher who married the 18-year-old student right after graduation. That was a huge scandal then. Of course, today, when students and teachers have affairs all the time, our scandal wouldn’t have even hit the radar. But it was a great scandal then, real “Peyton Place” stuff. Love conquered all, including age, common wisdom, and public opinion. It taught me to always remember; “Love is blind, but the neighbors ain’t.”
It all proves what I’ve always said, Shelter Island is an exciting place to live. It moves and changes with glacial speed through time. The unique Island, where generations of third cousins marry and as a result, all the men are handsome, all the women smart, and all the children are gifted.