A Brush With Death At Keon’s Pond

It was a cold winter day in southern New York.  I was about ten years old, and there was no school.  It could have been a Saturday, or maybe during Christmas break.  Fact is, my friends and I were bored. 

“Let’s go skating at Keon’s!” I said.  Keon’s Pond could be reached by hiking a little east of downtown along the railroad track.  None of us really knew why it was called Keon’s Pond.  Rumor had it that some kid called Keon drowned there.  The pond could have been on property owned by someone named Keon, but the rumor was more mysteriously fun to pass around.  Calling it a “pond” was a euphemism, though, as the place was actually the town dump.  If you had an old washing machine you didn’t know what to do with, you could haul it down to Keon’s and dump it there.  No one would say anything.  That was back in the 60’s, long before everyone started going “green.” 

We decided not to bother with the hassle of finding matching pairs of skates in the basements and closets of our homes.  Sliding on the ice with our shoes would be fine. 

As my friends and I arrived at Keon’s, the pond was alive with the chatter of multi-aged school children, all having found an escape from the day’s blustery, cold boredom.  We forgot about sliding, and simply walked on the ice, laughing and looking everywhere but directly down in the direction our energetic feet were taking. 

Some of the kids had apparently found reprieve from their boredom by removing a 55-gallon drum which had been frozen in the surface of the pond.  Unbeknownst to me and my girlfriends, the gaping hole left by the missing drum was in our path … right in front of me, to be precise. 

In a frenzied whoosh of a second, I plunged down into the icy cold water … down … down.  My head went under and my feet could feel no bottom.  One-word thoughts filled my mind … 

“Cold … help … die.” 

Before I knew what was happening, hands from above grasped my wrists and pulled me to the surface.  My older brothers were there at the pond, and had come to my rescue. 

Did they call 9-1-1?  No, we didn’t know what 9-1-1 was back then.  Did they wrap me up in a warm blanket and carry me home?  Not a chance.  Instead, my brothers built a fire and warmed me by it, turning me ‘round and ‘round, like a rotisserie chicken. 

“You can’t tell Mom or Dad,” they warned, “or they’ll kill us.” 

Perhaps parents killing their children is more of a reality today, but not back then.  It was just something we always said.  “Mom and Dad will kill us.” 

So there I sat by the fire, chattering with clenched teeth, “I’m c-c-c-cold!  I w-w-w-want to go h-h-h-home!” 

But no one took me home, for fear that Mom and Dad would kill us. 

My teeth finally stopped clattering and my clothes got to some point of being damp … no longer drenching wet. 

“OK, now we can go home,” said one of my brothers. 

They walked me the mile-hike home and snuck me upstairs, where I changed into much-warmer, dry clothes. 

Mom and Dad didn’t kill us.  They never found out.  I was just glad to be alive.


4 Responses to “A Brush With Death At Keon’s Pond”

  1. Don Jones Says:

    you were a lucky girl

  2. slowdancejournal Says:

    They would have killed you! In a family with ten kids what’s one kid? Expendable, that’s what.

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