Now, you have to remember that my cousin and I were on our meagre ten-year-old knees when we gazed upward and took in this new world beyond the forbidden door – it was unlike any place we had ever laid eyes on.
In the center of the room, there was a mammoth, towering desk with a foreboding front that seemed to be screaming, “STOP! GO NO FURTHER!” The soft rug was a rich burgundy color with an intricate design woven throughout and there were two, strong leather chairs with ornate backs allocated to the two close corners of the room. The walls were speckled with important looking documents. There were no windows in this great expanse so if we hadn’t opened the door and allowed a splash of light from the well lit hallway to come tumbling in, the room would have be quite daunting to two young and impressionable girls. The burst of light empowered us to press on. All these years of mystery – about to be unveiled.
We slowly stood up and there it was – some sort of plaque but of obvious power, strategically placed at the corner of the otherwise, clear desktop. Mary and I quickly scanned the words.
THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY THE HUSBAND OF THIS HOUSE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE MANAGEMENT.
We had absolutely no idea what these words meant but we knew that it had to be profoundly important to earn such a pristine plance on Pop’s desk, where only a select few had had the privilege of viewing it. Here it was – the secret of life.
So what did Mary and I do? Both of us memorized the words on the sign. We stood there for a few minutes and reverently repeated these wise words until we knew them by heart. When we finished, we took one last, awestruck survey of the office, slowly walked backwards into the hall and respectively closed the door.
By this time, my teacher towel hair had shifted. I accidentally slipped on one corner of the towel and fell into Mary’s arms but having been illuminated by the adventure, she hardly noticed. We had matured, grown in wisdom and we would never be the same again. It was a rite of passage.
I think that’s the moment that I began to struggle with the concept of submission…and I struggled for years. My ten year old mind didn’t understand the humor of those words – instead, they were etched in my mind as absolute truth and that plaque gave me freedom to start asking a lot of questions.
I became a “why” person.