‘Just another day’

  • Published in Letters

To The Editor:

During the summer of 1967 or perhaps 1968, I went camping with my parents and sister, Phyllis, at the state park in Island Pond over the Fourth of July weekend.

The morning of July 4, the state police arrived and advised my parents that my brother, Bruce, drowned the night before at Fireman's Cove, at the Waterbury Reservoir.

It seems Bruce had attended a wild party the night before at the cove. After consuming far more beer than he should have he jumped into the lake and disappeared in the middle of the night.

Emergency responders were called in and they spent the rest of the night dragging the lake for Bruce's body. The next morning this stopped abruptly when Bruce walked into the area looking for his car.

Bruce had the great fortune to head across the actual cove, which was maybe a hundred feet across. He climbed onto the far bank and headed into the woods. He came upon a camp and after breaking a window to gain access, he fell sound asleep in a nice bed in the camp.

You have never seen a more upset group of emergency responders when Bruce returned to the cove. Years later I was employed as a painter for Sid Thurston, who had been and was still the Waterbury Center fire chief. He said that when Bruce walked into the area, many emergency responders thought it would be best to tie Bruce up with a few weights, throw him into the lake and see if they had any better luck dragging for his body. Fortunately, they had a busy day ahead of them and didn't have time for retribution.

The camp owner arrived on the scene and the police pressured him to press charges against Bruce for breaking into his camp as they wanted to get a piece of him any way they could. The camp owner considered it no big deal and so Bruce remained a free man.

This would be one of the worst July 4 weekends these people had to endure, but to Bruce it was just another day.

Steve Marshall

Waterbury Center