Once Upon a Time….

karendowdall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a reblog from February 28th, 2015 and it is something I wrote years ago, it is loosely based on a true story. 

The Indian summer began like any other when I was twelve years old growing up in the small colonial era farming community of Granby, Connecticut. The last fields of the summer harvest had been shorn of their corn, alfalfa, hay, and tobacco. The wet smell of fresh cut hay filled the air as well as the mingling aroma of tobacco fields that now lay bare of their crops. The large tobacco leafs would hang neatly from wooden poles to dry underneath white-sheeted tents. The smell of tobacco, sweet and pungent, hung in the air. It was a grown-up smell, a smell of intimacy and secret goings-on. My cousin Garrett and I would sometimes sneak up behind the white-sheeted tents and listen. Giggles, laughter, and strange noises were not unfamiliar sounds to our ears as we listened. More than tobacco leafs nestled under the white-sheeted tents.

Not far from the tobacco field was an ancient apple orchard that looked like something out of a wicked fairy tale. Walking through its darkly gnarled wood was a rite-of-passage experience for anyone under the age of twelve. To this day memories of Canton road, where I grew up, float across my senses.  I envision its tar paved darkness as it crosses over Salmon Brook, cuts through McLean’s game preserve, wanders by weird old Stewart Duncan’s farm, and the said-to-be-haunted Sperry colonial homestead. Canton Road weaves it way over-laying the swell of land occupied for ten thousand years by the indigenous people like the Massaco Indians who were a part of the Algonquian tribes. Evidence of their habitation is still visible by those who know what to look for.

Spirit Pond is one of those places. There are sightings by the locals of ghost warriors that still drink the dark cold waters of Spirit Pond and are not as rare as one would like to believe. Spirit Pond is a large spring fed body of water surrounded by tall reeds and weeping willows. Its dark cold water and deep recesses still hold untold secrets as well as the body of Minnie Brogan. My rather strange cousin Garrett was drawn to the story of Minnie Brogan and I followed suit. Young Minnie Brogan lived in a small dwelling at the edge of Spirit Pond in 1680 not far from our home in the Salmon Brook Settlement.  She was said to have met with a ghastly end. It is a haunting legend of sorts and the story appears in the town’s tourist pamphlets as a way of advertising its colonial history to visitors.

It was said that young Minnie Brogan lived a solitary existence in her meager dwelling on the edge of Spirit Pond and tended a few chickens and a vegetable garden. She also grew medicinal herbs. In colonial times, a female living alone who also concocted remedies was sure to raise suspicions of witchcraft. Yet, Garrett and I doubted this explanation and we would often sit by the edge of Spirit Pond trying to envision that long ago crime. Minnie Brogan was dragged from her thatched hut. She was bound by her hands and feet and thrown into the spring fed pond. We wondered how scared she must have been as she slowly sank into Spirit Pond’s cold dark waters. I personally believe there was more to it than just medicinal herbs. Minnie was young, alone, and was said to be hauntingly beautiful. She was accused of conjugating with evil forces. As a six grader, I had no idea someone could actually be murdered for not knowing how to conjugate a verb (although there were times I was sure by teacher at thought of it).

So, it was in winter when Spirit Pond was frozen-over that Garrett and I would go ice skating and just as often we would look to see if Minnie Brogan’s ghostly apparition would rise up from the ice. Although we never actually saw her ghostly-self rise from the pond, we imagined what she would look like if she did. I wonder about Minnie Brogan’s secret hopes and dreams that vanished into the dark cold waters of Spirit Pond one nefarious moonless night long ago. Sometimes I even imagine I can feel her presence as I dip by fingers into the waters of Spirit Pond. It is though the earth remembers her and still holds her secret longings. I, too, will always remember Minnie Brogan.

24 thoughts on “Dark Cold Water

  1. frenchc1955 says:

    Karen, this is simply wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much, Charles, I am so glad you liked it. Karen 🙂

      Like

  2. Wow this is really well written. And really tragic too. Poor girl. To die in such a way. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I am thrilled that you liked it and that it was well written! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed reading this. You set the scene very well. Do you know if any research has been done on Minnie?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz, this is not based on anyone person, just a legend that a woman and others might have drowned in that spring water pond that I used to Ice skate on years ago, and happened during colonial times. Some people think it was murder others thing it was an accident. Most people that live in that town, would not even remember it, those that did, have passed away years ago. I first heard it from a very old farmer, that as children, we used to visit and milk his cows and play in his fields of corn and wheat. That is all I know about it, Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, I see. The reason I ask, of course, is that I want to know more!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Liz, I would have done the same thing, I love to find out the deeper story, what really happened to the person involved. I wish I had had more information about this person, if she really existed, but I don’t. It would have made a great story, Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Liz, I am so impressed by all the writing and publications that you have done. I am thrilled that you, a true literary writer, likes my short short stories. I am now reading your short story, “The Story of Henry: Chapter and Verse”. I am sure I will read them all, and learn to be a literary writer, Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. An intriguing story, for sure. I’ll bet it has some basis in fact (however tenuous).

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Liz, yes, I feel sure there is a basis of fact in the story. I first heard it from the 90 year old farmer where my siblings and I milked cows for fun and to help this farmer. I do have a great story about him and his sister that is based in fact and you could probably find it in Granby’s news paper posted maybe 80 years ago. I wrote about it, as part of a novel I wrote, Garrett’s Bones, three years ago. This book (my second book ever written) did get a great review from Writer’s Digest, but I was a beginner who knew next to nothing about writing fiction or much about grammar punctuation. Fortunately. I have improved. Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Old farmers make great story narrators!

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      7. Liz, yes they are! Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennie says:

    What a wonderful story, Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennie, thank you. You will be happy to hear that as soon as my Historical Time-Slip Romance Fiction is done, I will be doing book 2 of Delphi Altair: The Star Map for middle grade children. If you have never read Delphi Altair, Strange Beginnings, Book 1 I think you would like it as well. It is for middle grade children. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        Thank you, Karen! How exciting!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jennie, yes, I am exciting to write this new story for Delphi Altair too. Friends and relatives have kept asking me to write it. So, that’s my next writing adventure. Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a sweet, sad story, Karen. A good story pointing out that ignorance can be dangerous. Or that living alone without a great big dog might not always be a good idea. History is full of stories to pull from.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marlene, you are absolutely right, ignorance is dangerous and a big dog is essential as well. Yes, women who have been attacked by bad guys, are usually saved by the big dog. So true. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Also, Marlene, I am so pleased that you liked my sweet and sad story. If she ever really existed, I am sure she would have liked her story being told. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Chilling and haunting, Karen, and perfect for the imaginations of children. I saw many connections in this to The Stone Arch Secret, a great read. What a terrible time for women as Minnie’s end demonstrates.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Diana, thank you so much. I am so thrilled and honored that you, the amazing writer that you are, liked my short story about Minnie Brogan, as well as her terrible fate, and The Stone Arch Secret. Oh my gosh, not only did you make my day, but also my entire writing life. Thank you will never be enough to tell you how wonderful your words are to me. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re so welcome! Clearly your book stuck with me. 🙂

        Like

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