Grace Under Fire

During the winter of 1945, I was a Sixth Classman housed in the long dorm, atop the Castle, which housed various Sixth and Fifth Classmen, Steve Glidden in charge. One dark night the fire alarm suddenly awakened us, and under Steve’s guidance, we rolled out of bed, grabbed bath robes to cover our pajamas, and stumbled down three flights of stairs to the Commons between the then dining room and library to await our fate. For the next fifteen minutes or so El Putnam and Steve searched the basement for smoke and flame.

As we were awaiting their verdict there suddenly appeared on the circular staircase an apparition clad in shiny loafers, gray flannels, blue button down shirt, striped tie, and blue blazer, carrying a suitcase and with a coat draped over its right arm as if prepared to head for the office. It was Bill Bliss ’48, a Fourth Classman at the time, displaying for our eyes calm in the midst of calamity, true cool, or, as Hemingway would have put it, grace under fire. There was no fire, however, and we, led by Bill, returned to our safe sacks.

-Sid Eaton ’50                                                                                –

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