1950s, The Duck Pond, William J. PDF Print E-mail
Stories - William Joseph Skally

It was probably a Saturday afternoon when we loaded up the wagon with a picnic basket with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some fruit, and chips. I sat in the wagon with the picnic basket while Nancy walked with my mother. The huge elm trees on Holly Avenue shaded the entire street and sidewalk so we only felt the direct sun for seconds at a time.

I thought we walked two miles but it was only three blocks and suddenly a picturesque small park appeared! There was a sunny lawn area that was between Summit Avenue and Western and at the other end was a shelter and pond. More than just a pond it had a sculpture os an Indian in a running position with a bow in one hand and right next to the Indian was a dog in full stride. The figures were life size and were placed on top of a platform, which was six feet above the water. Around the platform were four ducks (geese) with their beak pointed straight up and water shooting four feet above their beaks. The water was coming from the mouth of the ducks (geese). The circular pond itself was about 16 feet in diameter and had beautiful tiles on the bottom. The water was about 18 inches deep and always moving. The concrete ledge around the pond allowed you to sit and dangle your feet in the water.

Just beyond the was a stone shelter with a wood roof. The shelter seating area was made of thick marble and was cool to sit on in the summer heat. It was about 5 feet wide and 15 feet long and 10 feet high. It had arches for windows and could protect you from the rain. Fifteen feet away a huge tree shaded the pond and the shelter. Little did I know at the time but the duck pond had remained one of my favorite places to seek out solace. As we got older we continued our summer visits on a regular basis.

One of my favorite memories of the duck pond was a hot Saturday afternoon. I was probably seven or eight years old at the time. One of the first things we did was go wading and flopping around in the water. Well this particular day an older gentleman dressed up in a three piece suit top hat and cane slowly walked to the duck pond from Summit Avenue. We didn't pay too much attention as a lot of people cut through the park. He stoppped at the pond while we were splashing around, reached into his pocket, and flipped a handful of coins in the pond.

Well we went crazy picking coins up in the water. Must have gathered 15 cents to 25 cents each, at least. By the time we got all the coins we looked for the old man but he was gone.

We started thinking it was a ghost because he was dressed so formally but the coins in our hands told us something appeared. I never saw that man again but I love to sit at the duck pond today and watch him throw those coins.