Total Pageviews

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Life Imitates Metaphor: Banana Plant Pushes Through Glass Ceiling at Smith College

Life imitates Metaphor: Banana Plant Pushes Through Glass Ceiling at Smith College


        A banana plant busted through one of the ceiling panes at the Lyman Conservatory at Smith College over the weekend. Smith College has witnessed many women pushing through glass ceilings over the past 100 plus years. Now, we have actual evidence that a pane of glass can be broken through, literally overnight, in this article featured in today's Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, Massachusetts.

          http://www.gazettenet.com/home/9182534-95/banana-plant-goes-through-the-roof-at-smith-college





     In this bizarre case of life imitating metaphor, Smith College has a most fitting symbol (living mascot?) of breaking through those clear barriers. A banana plant at Smith has many commonalities with Julia Child, Gloria Steinem, Otelia Cromwell (Otelia Cromwell Day at Smith is today!) and many other Smith College graduates. And, in so many cases, the women broke through the ceilings almost overnight...but it did take over 100 years of growth to get to the point where the pane could be shattered. The push came in the middle of the night with no witnesses. And yet, the push came. . .


     And, in an odd presaging, Marshall Schalk, professor emeritus of geology at Smith College, and I had a conversation standing near the very same banana plant in 1978 (it has been at the conservatory since at least 1904). He told me that banana plants were remarkably strong and forceful and that he would not be surprised if, one day, the plant pushed through the glass ceiling! "Just like a Smith!" he said (He called us Smiths, not Smithies).


     So, today, Marshall, life imitates metaphor. This photograph is for YOU!



  


       As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on glass ceilings, Smith College or...,

       Word Woman (aka Scientific Smithie Steph) 


   

12 comments:

  1. Got the glass shattering woman covered in the creek. Great grandmother professor @ University in Tokyo. Grandmother an head nurse and labor organizer. Mother a Pulitzer prize winning journaist, educator, and labor orgsnizer. Wife one of the first sheet metal fabricating apprentices, journey(wo)man, labor organizer and educator.
    "The best way to grow is to make you own room and for goodness sake do be different" Momma 'Creek'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zeke creek, I am very happy to hear this!

      "Make your own room and for goodness sake do be different!" is fantastic advice. Glad Momma Creek passed that along to you...and to us!

      I wish teenagers, especially young women, would get the being different aspect. More and more, some of them are!

      Delete
  2. A family friend who grew up in Nebraska and whose name was Smith and who was very bright but not very worldly, heard of a college named Smith and applied on a lark some 40+ years ago. She was accepted but didn't attend because, as she said, who would go to a college named Smith when you could go the the University of Nebraska?

    Anyway, watch out for those bananas! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/04/deadly-spiders-supermarket-bananas-_n_4214464.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jan, it's a somewhat familiar refrain. I have received these comments/questions about Smith:

      "Oh, that's a really common name!" (Yes, and my son graduated from Brown, the other really common name school!)

      "Is that a typing school back east?" (referring to Smith-Corona typewriters, I believe)

      "Why would you go to Smith when you could go to UConn?" (And I could sound like I'd been to Alaska)

      Thanks for the banana spider link, I think!

      Delete
  3. Phototropism, or anti-geotropism?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, both I think. . .and raising the roof on plant growth research ;-).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Summarizing, people who live in glass houses should grow bananas ... but, for God's sake, pay attention to what's going on with 'em.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul, so very true. Marshall said he'd seen banana plants grow a couple of feet in a matter of hours so we could both foresee it happening. He's been gone a while now but I am sure he is chortling somewhere.

      Delete
  6. Treemendous tie in to you know what, ww.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do know what, zeke creek. It's part of what makes it such a treet! ;-)

      Delete
  7. You do have to be careful when you push through a glass ceiling that you don't get your head cut off as a result.

    ReplyDelete
  8. True. It can be a major pane, David. But, that banana plant looks pretty happy and free, don'tcha think?

    ReplyDelete