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"Check The Bottom Of Fred's Pond"

A discussion of possible frontier justice in Easton

 

In the late 1980s, I worked at a prefect for a school year at Georgetown Preparatory School, an international resident-day college prep school that is the oldest institution of Jesuit learning in the New World. Georgetown University would grow out of Georgetown Prep. 

What is a prefect? Well, it something of a resident assistant who helps out with the students in the areas of discipline, academics, and recreation. As a recent graduate of Boston College – a Jesuit school of higher learning – it was a superb and enriching year for me. 

So, anyway, during that school year I reported to the housemaster who was a Georgetown Prep alum, and who had grown up in Alabama. I will call him George Andrews, but his name wasn't George Andrews. 

George told the story about how the home of his family in Alabama had been broken into. Thankfully no one was hurt. In the ensuing police investigation, the local sheriff – who I am thinking was a good 'ole boy – said to George Andrews's mother, “Mrs. Andrews, what you need is a gun.”

Mrs. Andrews, even though she lived in Alabama, was not comfortable with guns – and she replied, “Why, Sheriff, okay, but under the law, I'm not even able to shoot unless the person is actually in my house, right?” 

Well, the local sheriff responded, casually, “Oh, Mrs. Andrews, you can shoot him on the porch (pronounced “poahchh”); we reasonable around here.”

In the old days in Easton, were we “reasonable” around here? 

I wonder. 

When talking online not too long ago with a gentleman a few years younger than me – that would make him in his mid 40s – who was of Swedish descent and whose family went a ways back in Easton, he noted that his grandfather, a tough and hardy Swede who himself had grown up in Easton, once commented that in the old days in Easton, people took care of their own problems. 

And then his grandfather added, “If you don't believe me, then check the bottom of Fred's Pond.” 

(Fred's Pond is also Langwater Pond, and vice versa.)

Yeah, I guess that could be the case. 

So I refer here to a case that happened in Easton around 1979 – or right around there. 

A young girl, she was in 7th grade, had been targeted through phone calls by a pervert. The father of the girl, a well respected civic figure in Easton, did not want to act the “Calamity Jane” – but, then again, it was his daughter.

The father called the Easton Police Department which did its research, and, without me here going into specifics, reported back to the father that, yeah, there was evidence that this guy was spying on his daughter. 

The family of the daughter took proper precautions. And, then one day, the daughter was walking down Center Street in Easton, and a man pulled up and got out of a car – and he said to the girl things that told her he was the same guy who had made the phone calls. She ran across the street and started banging on the door of home. 

The perv jumped back in his car and raced off. 

So the girl went back to her parents, and to her father, and explained what had happened. 

And then her dad – again, a respected civic figure in Easton – went right to the Easton Police. 

He may have, as well, gone to some other people. You see, this guy, loved by many, was connected. 

So the father arrives home a few days later, and he says to his daughter, “You have nothing to worry about.” 

And indeed his daughter didn't.  She never heard from or was menaced by that man again.

Many, many years later, this man's daughter, reflected on what her dad meant with these words. 

She reflected as someone who was privy to what that Easton gentleman of Swedish descent said about what his Swedish grandfather who grew up in Easton said on the matter of frontier justice.

And this woman said, “Check the bottom of Fred's Pond.”

******

As a postscript and for the record – I don’t think there are any human skeletons at the bottom of Fred’s Pond.  Maybe a bicycle or two.  But you have to admit, there is good drama in suggesting that some “problems” could have been deposited there through the years.

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