One of the milestones in my family was to swim Furnace Pond by the age of fifteen and the summer I was going into eighth grade, I got it in my head to do it. My grandparents owned a cottage on Furnace Pond, which was down in the piney woods near Plymouth and not far from all that Pilgrim business, and we visited a couple of times a summer. Uncle Jack and Jenny were driving me there one Sunday in 1967 when I said: “I’m swimming the pond.”
“Bobby,” Uncle Jack said. “You’re only thirteen and a mile is a long swim.” He was at the wheel, Jenny sat next to him, and I was in the back seat. Jenny turned around: “You didn’t get past the Minnow level at Camp Windsor.”
“The Windsor people didn’t know anything. I got past Minnow.”
“Why don’t you wait until next summer?” Uncle Jack rubbed his chin, which was what he always did when he worried about me.
“I want to swim it today.” When you swam Furnace Pond, you got to carve your initials in a rafter in my grandparents’ cabin, along with the date of your swim, and just about every… Read more »