Merton Pond

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Merton Pond is a character in the Eden Pond Series.


Merton was a veteran of World War I and the much older brother of Eden and Harry Pond. He was good with his hands and at fixing engines and small machines, making his living as the owner of Pond Salvage and Repair. An injury suffered in the war made it difficult for him to speak, so he tended to keep to himself. With most people, he used a notepad he kept in his pocket to communicate. He limited the use of his voice only in emergencies or with those closest to him.

After the deaths of his parents to Spanish Flu in 1918, he brought in Tillie Larkin, a neighbor girl, to help him take care of Eden and Harry. As she came into adulthood, Tillie grew in affection for Merton, eventually falling in love with him. He never felt he could return her love, believing himself to be too broken by his experiences in the war. Tillie remained close to the family, especially to Merton, despite his inability to show his love for her.

Merton suffered from lingering guilt about his parents, who died while he was recovering from his war injuries in France. He was convinced if he had not volunteered, he would have been home to care for his parents and perhaps save their lives. Years later, he would avoid answering Eden's questions about them, the lone source of friction between them.

During his travel to and from France, he developed a strong dislike of the sea, having suffered from extreme seasickness exacerbated by fear of being sunk on the outbound trip. After the war, he would only board a boat or ship in harbor, and then only to make repairs. He refused to visit the beach with Harry and Eden when they were children, letting them go alone or with friends.

In August 1933, despite his weak lungs, he joined the effort to fight the first Tillamook Burn, a wildfire that consumed 350,000 acres of northwest Oregon forest. When the fire exploded into a firestorm on August 25th, he was seriously injured while fleeing the advancing front. After that, he became even more reclusive, rarely leaving the house, and never the town of Garibaldi again.

He owned a 1920 Dodge Screenside truck which he kept running for more than 20 years, though after August 1933 only Harry or Eden drove it.[1]

World War I
During the Great War Merton served as a combat engineer with the American Expeditionary Forces in France. There, he was wounded in the Battle of Château-Thierry, but in the process saved the lives of six other wounded soldiers. He first pulled four to safety under enemy fire, including fellow Tillamook Bay resident Paul Berenger. He then attacked and destroyed a machine gun nest, enabling two other wounded to be saved. He was awarded the Army Citation Star (equivalent to the Silver Star) for Gallantry in Action, as well as the Purple Heart.

Vital Statistics

Date of Birth: 2 September 1899
Inducted into U.S. Army: 3 September 1917
Wounded in Combat: 18 July 1918 at Château-Thierry, France
Awarded Army Citation Star and Purple Heart: 31 August 1918
Date of Death: —

Character Affiliations