Here is part I.
Getting thrown in a river on a hot summer’s day is one thing. But getting thrown in a pond on a cold winter’s night is quite another. That’s what happened to young Caleb Connelly on February the 15th in the year of 1982. I know because I heard about it from my Mom who heard about from her hairdresser who then cross-referenced it with the deliveryman of the local florist who monitored the police scanner almost every afternoon, except for Fridays when he left work early to attend Mass.
A young teenager thrown in the pond would probably not make news in any city, and probably would not have been that big of a deal in most towns but Linus Massachusetts was different. Here, the police had nothing better to do than monitor these petty sins and, according to my Mom, when Officer Dan Cunningham arrived at the pond he had to scurry down the bank and wade out into the freezing water, uniform and all, in order to reach Caleb who was still too shell shocked from the initial act to know that he could easily have paddled his own way over to dry ground.
Caleb was that kind of kid. He seemed to find himself in trouble like this about once every month, although the police had never been involved before. When the wet young man made it home, courtesy of Cunningham’s warm squad car, his Mom was waiting and ringing her hands nervously. “Thank you, sir” she addressed Linus’ finest. The officer fumbled for the wet textbooks and loose-leaf notebook paper he had laboriously pulled from the pond, as he shook Mrs. Connelly’s hand. “I suggest your son stay clear of these boys for a while. But probably boys just playing, but you now have one wet son!” Caleb squeezed himself straight through the space between the two conversing adults and hustled his way upstairs to the bedroom. “Thanks again, officer. We appreciate it.” And with that Mr. Cunningham walked down the cobbled lane, got into his car, and drove away.
Mr. Wilson John Connelly is really a big teddy bear on the inside, everyone who knows him always claims, but the problem is that he’s anything but cuddly on the outside. And that has always been a concern for his young family. “How did it happen,” Mr. Connelly grilled Caleb’s mother when he finally got home from the office. “He was just thrown in the pond by a group of kids. He doesn’t know why and I suggest we not push it this evening. Just act as if everything is normal.” Typical. Margaret Connelly liked keeping up good appearances. She regularly worried that if anyone knew the truth they would shutter to think what went on inside this old house.
“Well, there has to be an explanation, Margaret.” Typical. Wilson Connelly liked knowing the reason for everything. He wouldn’t stop until he could answer the why question. This would not have been so annoying had it not been for his insistence on pushing hard for answers, even from his wet, pride-wounded son.
“What happened out there this afternoon, Caleb?”
“They just threw me in the pond, Dad.”
“They just did.”
“I know, but there has to be a reason.”
“I said I don’t know why.”
“Honey,” Margaret attempted to fend off her husband.
“Well, did all of your schoolwork get wet, son?”
“Yea, most of it.”
“Well, I suggest you collect what you can and get to work on re-doing the rest, OK? And avoid these boys. And, son, if you did anything to provoke them, please do not do it again. Understand?”
Feeling it was his entire fault all over again, young Caleb Connelly answered as he always had, “Yes.” And with that he marched his sullen backside right upstairs and right into his room where he closed the door and began re-doing the rest.