Tice’s Pond

50 Years ago – Thomas Rich Lake was known as “Tice’s Pond”
Before Paulinskill Lake
A pond up on the right
Known for being dangerous
A dam with a dizzying height

We were always told
You could go over the top
Stay away from the dam
Its a fifty foot drop

We used to row our boat
Out in the reedy coves
With dreams of finding treasure
Amongst the thick mangroves

One day in the spilling waters
We saw something trapped in the dam
Just below the spillway
A human skeletal hand

Every year a drowning
Or a fall over the dam
No matter what the warning
The news is always sad

Some kids have gone missing
Its years before they're found
They fall into the spillway
Hit their head and then they drown
Tice’s Pond was near Newton, NJ – where I grew up in Sussex County

This story is true – to a point. There is a dam and spillway that separates the pond from Lake Paulinskill. My childhood friend, Steven Tice and I used to row boats on the pond and we also walked across the dam – with water flowing – which was extremely dangerous. There were accidents every year, but the dead body I mention is one that actually happened when I was at college in Lock Haven, PA – 3 hours drive west of where I grew up.

As an aside – that telegraph shack was very near Tice’s Pond – near where the Paulinskill Valley Trail hits Swartswood Road. That story was 100% real.

At Lock Haven – which was an old timber / lumber area, they would float logs in the river and they had locks to hold the logs. Every year or so, someone swimming in the river would come too close to the lock and get pulled under – trapped and they would drown. It was heart breaking, and predictable.

I’ll have to write about another friends place at the other end of Lake Paulinskill – whose family (The Salamones) owned what I believe was the last operating dairy farm in Sussex County. The American Gothic story there is that every year – without fail – some poor bastard kid would climb up a silo and then fall in and suffocate in what was “sileage” – or corn that was not edible by humans – but the by products of this bio-waste was great feed for cows. Dairy Farms have a lot of self sustainability going – way before it was fashionable. But it is actually scary thinking about all the things I did as a kid where I could have ended up dead.

Makes “kids these days” look like sniveling little pansy assed wimps.

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