Meadowbrook

“Meadowbrook” is the name of a Parkway on Long Island near the military base where I lived for four years in the ’70s, but it has a more specific local connotation for me. An exact spot, marked on the map at that link, which was a little muddy body of water that sits (now) between Perimeter Road and Korean War Veterans Memorial Drive, and per online maps is (now) known as “The Pond.”

Back when I lived there, though, Perimeter Road was a semi-abandoned gravel road and the big four lane Charles Lindbergh Boulevard didn’t exist. They were in the process of building the campus of Nassau Community College, and that little body of water was behind the construction site, very isolated, very wild and overgrown and lush and verdant, even though it was basically just a glorified drainage ditch running alongside the Meadowbrook Parkway. (Who knows, perhaps it was the brook in the meadow that gave the parkway its name?).

All of us who lived there on Mitchel Field (the semi-abandoned military base on which Nassau Community College, the Nassau Coliseum and the Cradle of Aviation Museum now stand) roamed freely among the abandoned hangars and runways that had pretty much been deteriorating in place since the end of World War II. We were generally fearless, and climbed into old buildings and walked down isolated trails and paths without a thought. It was an amazing place to be a teenager, like living in something out of Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome. We loved roaming the grounds there.

The only place that creeped us out, though, for no good reason that we could explain, was that little isolated creek bed beside the parkway, the spot on the map: Meadowbrook. There was a pack of wild dogs that stalked that area (including a frighteningly pale Weimeraner that we called The Ghost Dog), so we (publicly) attributed it to that, but there was just something wrong about the spot in general, something that made us feel like something bad was going to happen if we stayed there very long. We’d periodically ride our bikes over there to show our bravura, but usually found reasons to go elsewhere pretty quickly. It was our dead zone, our no man’s land, our haunted house (minus the house).

So of course it had to become a poem (fictional, in case it worries you) . . .

MEADOWBROOK

Never talked about it,
never made a sound,
never knew the story of
the body that we found.
The body that we found.

Meadowbrook is dewy,
Meadowbrook by dawn.
Underneath the setting sun,
the body on the lawn.
The body on the lawn.

Silent in the gloaming.
Silence in our minds.
Silently we walked away,
the body left behind.
The body left behind.

Time can tell a story.
Time can change a face.
Someday will the mem’ry of
the body be erased?
The body we erased?

The body be erased.

Note: See this link for more visual information about the weirdness of 1970s Mitchel Field.

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