Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Patrick Flynn and Ronald Tipton, 2016.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Boy Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Brave, Clean and Naked?

You may become a Boy Scout at eleven years of age. I joined Downingtown Troop 82 in April 1955, less than three months away from my fourteenth birthday. Troop 82 had nothing in common with the Original and oldest Troop, except both had a scoutmaster whose nickname was the color of his hair. There was no initiation, no pretend goat and no request to strip. My mother signed the application and I went to a meeting at the Lutheran Church on West Lancaster Avenue. I very quickly passed the Tenderfoot requirements to become a Scout.


Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.
Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake.
Demonstrate tying the square knot (a joining knot).
Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath or Promise, Law, motto, and slogan, and the Outdoor Code.
Describe the Scout badge.

A requirement on that list today is to complete and do exercises with your parents in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide. This did not exist at that time. How sadly far we have come. Of course, maybe it would have been useful during my first attempt at Scouts with that other troop.
Scout meetings were similar to MYF in structure. We met, had opening exercises and spend about 15 minutes drilling (well, we didn’t do drilling in MYF). There was then some type of project, test or special recognitions of achievement presented. At the end there was a social period that included games such as “Submarine”.
Submarine was a physical game. You divided into teams. One team would then be submarines  and the other submarine catchers (perhaps destroyer escorts like the ships my dad served on in WWII). The catchers would line up with their legs apart. The submarines, one at a time, would try to crawl beneath the line of open legs without them closing their legs and catching the submarine. I tried to find a picture online to illustrate the game without success. The closest I could get was the photo on the right, which isn't Submarine at all, but boys playing leapfrog. It was something on that order; that is, the one group would line up like about to play leapfrog, except very close together, more like a Rugby scrum. Instead of anyone leaping over anyone, the Submarine would crawl beneath.

The meetings were fun, but camping was my love. I went to at least two Camporees, maybe more. These were large gatherings of different Troops from all over. You would meet Boy Scouts from different parts of the country, sometimes even from another country. We had troop pins we would trade and stick on our caps. Troop 82 had an outstanding reputation of being a disciplined, but fun group. We were never rowdy as were some.
Camporees had a certain competitive spirit. Leadership honored Troops for achievements and gave certificates of accomplishment at the closing campfire. Troop 82 was the talk of one Camporee for our knapsack frames. The standard frame was the “Trapper Nelson” at that time; it showed how to build one in the Scout Manuel. (Pictured right) Troop 82 designed our own frame, which we called the A-Frame. This frame allowed us to carry a larger load with more comfort than a Trapper Nelson. Other Troops visited our camp asking directions for constructing these frames. They recognized us at the Closing Campfire for our innovation and we even received a write up in a Scouting publication.
I remember one Camporee held at Longwood Gardens near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. We were able to see the great fountain and light show while there. Adding to it was also a fireworks show. The Camporees were fun, but I liked our private campouts more. These were just our Troop and it was a bonding experience. I took to the hiking and sleeping in the woods, bathing in streams and cooking meals over an open fire.
It was an open fire during such a campout that caused one of the darker moments to occur. It didn’t happen in our Troop, but at the campsite of another Troop from another state that were our immediate neighbors on a patch of meadow. One of the boys was doing the cooking and he took a large kettle filled with scolding soup just made off of a rack over an open fire. Carrying it to serve, he tripped on a stone or clump of grass, fell down and the kettle landed upside down upon his legs. He was rather badly scalded and an ambulance had to be called in to take him to the county hospital. I don’t know his ultimate fate, but eventually it became part of a story I wrote called, “A Brother to All”.

At that time there was a practical joke going about. Some one would come up to you, suddenly looking very startled or concerned. You would ask them, “What’s the matter?”
“I hate to tell you, man, but…”
“But what?”
“You got ear lobes pretty bad.”
It was surprising how many kids didn’t know what ear lobes were and would get scared, especially when told their ears might have to be amputated. I used that joke in my story as well. (On the right is one of the famous celebrities who was a tragic victim of ear lobes.)
I rapidly gained Second Class rank through out the spring and summer. I have looked at the requirements of today and a lot has changed. Obviously in 1955 I was not required to explain the Internet. I also saw nothing in the current requirements mentioning Morse Code. We were required then to show proficiency in Morse Code. Maybe we were preparing for the cutting edge technology field of telegraphy. Most of the Scouts dreaded this test more than any. I passed it with a perfect score and in record time. The test I feared was the swimming requirements. I see today you have to pass swimming for Second Class. I didn’t have to worry about that until I went for First Class.
I was working on my First Class Requirements, knowing I had a problem since I couldn’t swim. The Scoutmaster told me I would learn to swim at Camp Horseshoe and pass the requirement there. Camp Horseshoe was a large Boy Scout Campgrounds near Silver Springs, Maryland in the area where Mason-Dixon Speedway existed. Our Troop was going for a two-week stay that summer. I did not enjoy this trip as much as I had expected.
To begin with I had to wear the summer uniform. I did not like this uniform because it had short pants. I did not wear short pants anymore in the summer. I thought they were little kid’s clothes. I also was too skinny and gangly and hated the way I looked in the summer uniform. 
I was carpooled down to the camp with another boy’s family. It was chaos upon arrival. There were Scouts and families swarming about the parking lot and grounds like ants. Eventually staff people herded we Scouts over to the medical tent, which looked like something out of M*A*S*H.
It was a large tent with the side flaps rolled up, just a canvas roof providing shade. They lined us up at one end to pass through to doctors at the other. The doctors would check us physically we were informed.
This was redundancy to my mind. They required a doctor’s signature before a boy was allowed to attend as proof he had a physical examination and passed. Why another exam upon arrival? Nurses instructed us to take off all our clothes and place them in these cubbyholes at the entrance of the tent. This was embarrassing. It was bad enough I had to be naked in front of these other boys, but there were families, including mothers and sisters walking all about and could plainly see us. I gritted my teeth and snaked along with the others to the doctor station. The doctors sat on little stools.

When I reached my doctor he said, “Reach down and spread your toes on your right foot.”
I did so and he bent forward and stared between my toes.
“Now the left,” he said.
I switched hands somewhat aware of my undignified position of being bend over with my bare rear end in the air. He examined this foot and then said, “Okay, you may go get dressed.”
I had to go out and around the outer rim of this tent to get my clothes while families were milling all about the grounds. The world was not making a lot of sense to me. If all the doctors were doing was examining for Athlete’s Foot, why did we have to strip naked? I didn’t know it then, but I would be asking these kinds of questions the rest of my life.
After this ordeal, A P.A. voice called the varied Troops to the parade grounds. (By golly, I think this is M*A*S*H; wasn’t that Radar O’Reilly?) They lined us up in formation before the welcoming speeches. It was July and very hot. Scouts were keeling over in faints. I was already beginning to not like Camp Horseshoe.
Actually for much of the time I did enjoy it, but two rumors began to weigh on my mind. Both involved nudity. The first was that you didn’t wear swimming trunks in the swimming pool. I was already nervous about the whole swimming lessons/test thing, now I decided to completely avoid the pool. It turned out the rumor of skinny-dipping at the pool was not true, but I never learned that until the last day of the trip.
The other was the Great Capture The Flag War. This was not an ordinary Capture the Flag game. This was an elaborate war game played as night was falling, so some of it was in the dark. They pitted Troops against Troops. Everyone fanned out over the camp attempting to snatch handkerchiefs off the belts of other Scouts. If your handkerchief was captured you became a prisoner of war. The winning Troop was the one who took the most prisoners. However, a rumor circulated that one of the Troops made their prisoners strip. (Gosh, was that other Downingtown Troop  attending?) A couple of Troops claimed they would do this too, which gave the rumor credence. In any society there are the good and the bad. I hid out in a field with a couple fellow Scouts that night. They never captured us. We might have been cowards, but to the others we were heroes.
I didn’t mind some things. Each Troop was responsible for KP duties for a day, which involved preparing meals, serving and clean up. One of the features of Boy Scout camp, by the way, was a drink called Bug Juice. It was some sort of concoction, who knows, maybe mixed Kool-Aid flavors. You could always gross out some kids by telling them it was made from squashing real bugs.
You could sidle up to some Tenderfoot and say, “I had KP last night and saw it made!” After that you could throw in anything you wanted.
We slept in these open-sided bunkhouses. There were wooden racks along each side and you put your air mattress and sleeping bag on it to be your bed. The latrines were outhouses located down wind from the bunks. If you had to go at night it meant getting up and walking down a trail into a wooded area. Dickie Dietz had a top bunk and I am glad I didn’t have the one beneath him. He couldn’t be bothered with this walking to the woods in the dark. If he had to go he would roll on his side and urinate over the side of his bunk.
Once again I relied on my super holding it in power to minimize my visits to these public latrines. I would keep a watchful eye out and whenever it appeared an outhouse might be unoccupied I would dash in and relieve my burden. I, of course, only urinated on these dashes. I never did the other during such trips.
I passed a lot of my First Class Requirements at Horseshoe, except the swimming. I did traditional crafts such as make a beaded belt with a horseshoe buckle. You weaved into the belt skills you accomplished at the camp. I also picked up a couple Merit badges during those weeks; I forget which now. I know I earned Badges in Camping, Reading, Reptiles and Amphibians, Insect Study and Zoology in Boy Scouts. I think I got Stamp Collecting and I might have got Astronomy. I still had an interest in science; the teachers hadn’t completely beaten that out of me yet.
I do have another memory of Camp Horseshoe that was great, but it wasn’t on that summer stay. In the winter of early 1956, January 7 to be precise, some of us in Troop 82, along with the Scoutmaster, hiked the Mason-Dixon Line down into Camp Horseshoe. It was bitter cold. The frigid weather turned even the little waterfalls in the streams to solid ice. We spent the night in a cabin at Horseshoe, bundled up in our sleeping bags. There may have been fireplaces in that cabin. I know we ate Cream of Wheat for breakfast, something I didn’t usually eat, but it was nice and hot. We were the only ones in the camp at that time. I loved that hike. It is one of my fondest memories.

I was elected Patrol Leader in December 1955. That was an amazing change. People usually picked me near last and here my peers elected me their leader. I took it seriously. I was Patrol Leader of the Beaver Patrol. That probably would have been a position bringing derision in some circles today. Even Beaver College gave up its historic name in the face of jibes, which personally I consider cowardice on their part.
I had a good patrol. There were four Patrols in Troop 2, if memory serves. There was a earned the most. In February 1956 the Troop scheduled a weekend at our private campsite. This camp was located up Rock Raymond road on a hill overlooking the town and called Camp McIlvaines. However, the Scoutmaster cancelled the outing due to a storm predicted for the weekend. Beaver Patrol never got the message for some reason. Four of us showed up that Friday evening.
Patrol Leader of the Quarter named. Points were awarded and this honor went to the patrol that
We hiked to the campsite expecting to see other members of the Troop already there. The site was deserted. We waited and about a half hour past the posted meeting time realized no one else was coming. It was beginning to rain. Nip Wilson decided to go home, but the rest decided to stay. These were Jim Dawson (pictured left), Dickie Dietz and I.
(The photo on the right is Nip Wilson. My mother thought this was a picture of me even though I looked nothing like Nip and was several inches taller.)
Now when I say campsite, I mean there was a clearing in the woods with a couple of designated fire pits circled by rocks. There was no other resemblance to a camp. We pitched two of our tents each designed to sleep two, but we choose to squeeze into one. We dug a latrine in the woods and a trench around the tents. This trench would keep the rainwater from getting into the tents if it started to flow down hill, which it did.

We were able to have a fire at first. The rain was light, but eventually the storm moved overhead and we couldn’t keep any flames going. We retreated into our tent. We ate food that didn’t need to be cooked. We sat around a flashlight in the tent and talked well into the night, shivering in the bitter February chill. We told a lot of gross jokes. Phony book titles were a fad at the time, things like, Yellow River by I. P. Daly and Plop! Plop! By Lucy Bowels.

We stayed through Sunday. We got some breaks in the storm by them and cleaned up the camp, made some repairs to the fire pits and did everything one should do on a campout, such as make sure any fires are doused and covered, bury your latrine and leave the place looking like you hadn’t been there.
We earned enough points for braving the weather that I made Patrol Leader of the Quarter.
On one of our campouts Dickie Dietz’s home burned down. I don’t remember if it was during that weekend or not, but I wrote a story called, “A Brother to All” based on this trip and incorporated his loss.
Jimmy Dawson was also in MYF with me and he was very religious then. During the camp out, sometime in the wee hours of the morning we were quietly talking in the glow of our flashlights when he preached the Gospel to me and handed me a little card. It basically just said: “If you were to die tonight, where would you be tomorrow. Fill in the blank: H_______.”

I told him I hoped I’d go to Heaven because I thought I was a pretty good guy, but I really didn’t know. I didn’t see how anybody could really know. I carried that card in my wallet for many, many years without filling in the blank. Many jimmy Dawson planted the seed that didn’t blossom for another two decades on that camping trip.
I guess the last two memories of my years in Boy Scouts were in September of 1956, because they were probably the last I was involved in Scouts. We had moved from Downingtown and I would have to quit the Troop. On September 8 we went on a tour of the penicillin plant in West Chester. Stuart was along. Wyeth, Inc. had opened a penicillin manufacturing plant on East Neilds Street in 1952. They had first made penicillin in a garage at the corner of North Walnut and North Chestnut Streets in 1943, when they were known as Reichel Laboratories. Now they offered tours of a new state of the art plant to see how this “modern wonder” drug was cultivated. My only real memory of that day was how the whole neighborhood smelled like bananas. Wyeth closed the West Chester plant in November 2004.
Then in the same month on the 22nd, also with Stuart along, the Troop went for a visit at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. We had a guided tour of the campus and the classrooms and then we went to the Homecoming Football Game at their stadium. I only have vague memories of the hoopla surrounding that game, the cheering and a section of students wearing beanies grouped together in one section, the Freshmen.
I was all of a sudden leaving two organizations that had given me sanctuary during my last year at Downingtown, MYF and Troop 82 BSA. They accepted me as just one of the boys in both. No one bullied or made fun of me. People respected and treated me as an equal.
Reverend Thomas Ogden (pictured left) provided lots of activities for the Youth Fellowship besides the regular Sunday evening meetings. Some one else led those Sunday meetings because Reverend Ogden was conducting the evening service at that time. He and his wife were very nice people. He would have these special get-togethers at the parsonage next to the church and they were always fun. His wife would make lemonade and brownies. I remember three such events very well.
One time he put us into teams of three or four and handed each team a list. He sent us out on a scavenger hunt all over Downingtown. If you have never participated in one of these it works this way. The host gives you a list of items, some quite ordinary, but most a little offbeat. You try to find as many of the items on the list as possible. Whoever gets the most wins the game.
On Halloween we gathered at the parsonage in costume and he sent us to trick or treat at the downtown stores. It was for UNICEF, not for us. We had large cans and asked the merchants for donations. I don’t think any refused, and many gave we kids some kind of treat as well.
At Christmas we became a living manger scene between the parsonage and the church. I was a shepherd. We had shifts. Some of us would stand for an hour in the little stable he had constructed on the grass plot. We would then come inside the parsonage and another group would take our place. Inside the Pastor’s wife would have hot cocoa with marshmallows waiting to warm us up. We did this living scene for several nights.
Reverent Ogden got his fifteen minutes of fame in 1958. He played the Fire Chief supplying the extinguishers at the climax of The Blob starring Stave McQueen. He was plain Tom Ogden in the credits.
I was whisked away to another land like Peter Pan a couple nights a week or for a weekend or fortnight. Unfortunately I had to spend the majority of my time in the world of Junior High. In this world, somewhat like in Peter Pan, there would be Pirates, but they were nothing like Captain Hook.





These first two excepts show how one real life events can trigger two fictional accounts, often quite different from one another. Both of these first two excerpts came out of the night Dickie's house burned down while e were camping in the hills above Downingtown. These first two excerpts were in the short story collection, Tales Out of Wilmillar and Other Towns (1967) 


EXERPT FROM "CONSTELLATIONS OF THE SUMMER SKY"

In the blue haze of morning, daylight completely obliterated by rain, we discovered the marsh turned into a small lake forcing us to remain guests in the house another day. Meanwhile the torrent fell. By noon our shelter was virtuously an island.
We tried to make the place comfortable, set candles and matches conveniently about and ate a cold breakfast at lunchtime. The afternoon was boring. We itched to be gone.
Night dropped over the hills like a heavy coat. It brought more rain and wind. The house began to speak to us from every corner and crevice. There were scratching and squeaks of restless bats beneath the eves. Below, in the cold cellar was the squeak and rustle of field mice seeking shelter. Around us the contracting walls gasped, the porch roof screamed, the windows howled. The floorboards in the room creaked.
We lit the candles as soon as darkness thickened, sitting down on the floor back to back in the center of the barren room. I faced the front of the house, Dick the back. We talked little. We listened to the sounds fearful of falling asleep.
Sleep did come. It was fitful.
In the morning we were still prisoners.
The swamp was a danger. The rain continued. It was dismal. We were irritable.
But we were braver. We wandered through the musty rooms of the upper floor. Even the creaks of the spongy floor didn’t send us hustling back down the stairs. We felt adventurous, explorers of a vast unknown.
I went into the far bedroom, a large room dominated by a musty odor. I heard soft footsteps behind me.
I got angry. I was it no mood for Dick’s morbid humor designed to frighten me. I spun around, ready to yell at him.
He wasn’t there.
There was nothing.
I stood, staring hard at a blank wall listening to footsteps still behind me.
I turned again. No one.
I edged my way to the center hall and called for Dick, but I didn’t receive any answer, except the screams of the porch roof. From the bedroom I had fled I heard the steps. They were soft and slowly moving in my direction.
From a rear room, where Dick had gone, I heard another sound. I saw something flash pass the door. It was light in color, gelatinous. It carried something. It came into the room with me. At the same time the soft footsteps entered behind me. I saw what the gelatinous creature carried, one of our lit candles.
The house began to vibrate, the floor tingled beneath my feet and I stood unable to move. I cried out, “Dick, for god’s sake, where are you, Dick? ”
No answer.
The creature with the candle and the footsteps were closing on me. I saw new shadows and small lights whirling like giant fireflies.
Chased by laughs and coughs, I fled the house.
Outside in the rain I tried to concentrate. The wind blew stronger every minute. There was a loud crash as the roof finally tumbled to the porch. I took a step toward the wreckage. “Dick,” I yelled.
“I’m here,” he said.
He leaned against one of the barn walls, his clothes soaked by the rain.
“I got the hell out of there,” was all he said.
The rain stopped like God threw a switch. Dick walked over and stood by me. We watched as flame appeared behind an upper room window. The roof of the house sagged inward. When the moon slipped from the clouds, the house gave a great moan and died slowly into the swamp.

EXERPT FROM  "CAMPFIRES"
.
Dickie knew little more than James or I about the actual mechanics of sex, but he could talk about something James and I was equally ignorant about, the naked female body. Dickie had five sisters, although they were with different families. He had vivid images of his elder sister taking a bath. He was caught peeking through the keyhole and whipped, but was so fascinated by what he saw he kept spying. James had one brother and I was an only child and we never had such an opportunity.
Dickie had all the good things to tell. I had something to tell, but I held back. I claimed a girlfriend, but said what we did was sacred and not to be talked about. I let them fill in the blanks.
There was nothing between this girl and I, except my own imagination. She was friendly to me at school and once accepted a Milky Way from me. I had a habit of whispering in her ear, not out of romance, but because from that angle I could peek down the front of her blouse . It was a time of sneaky discovering. I used to drop my pencil in attempts to peer up her skirt thinking I was quite ingenious.
Dickie was bolder and kept no secrets. Dickie told an adventure of exploration he shared with a neighbor girl in her father’s tool shed. It had been dark inside and he had not seen much, but he felt marvelous things in the darkness.
James and I admired Dickie. We wished we could be like him. Dickie was always singing risqué tunes, smiling mischievously or cracking dirty jokes. To us Dickie lived a perfect life. He got away with things we never could and he never had to go to church.
The rain disappeared by morning and a bright sun came through the clouds. It bathed the town below us in livid and alive color. We built a fire and cooked a breakfast of bacon, eggs and biscuits, fare always more delicious by a campfire. Many times the worse food made at campfires seemed the best meal ever eaten. There was something magic about it all that promised a good day.
After eating and cleaning the tins, we sat a bit and looked out over the valley at the town. Wilmillar was like a large Christmas village from there, every building a miniature toy of the ones we had known all our lives. We pointed at our school and the one we went to as children.
“Hey,” James said, “look at all the smoke.”
“Where?”
“To the west. See it?”
I saw it. It was a half-shade between gray and black, an evil smoke, thick, melancholy and active.
“Something big is burning. Listen.” James said
We heard the first warning blasts joined by more sirens. The trucks were on their way, hurrying across town. We sat and listened and watched, seeing heavy embers float skyward.
“It looks bad,” I said.
“Yeah,” said James.
Dickie was quiet. He stared at the smoke.
“It’s coming from near your place,” I said to him.


EXERPT FROM "A BROTHER TO ALL"

From the collection, Sins of the Sons (1972)

Bucky Lefebvre was cautiously lifting his soup kettle of boiling water on the end of a thick forked stick. He stepped back from the fire.
Terry yelled as he came out from his tent, freed from his own fears by the madness of anger cooking for so long in the tent.
“Damn you, Richie!”
Everything froze. Each scout stopped as if solidified by the strange curse. Everything froze except the boiling water, which cascaded backward over Bucky.
The freeze thawed instantly. Bucky fell to the ground screaming loudest in a cacophony of screams. In agony for their own, the scouts formed about the fallen. Bucky lay on his back upon the ground writhing gently. The front of his uniform was wet, but the exposed flesh of his arms and legs was strangely dry.
As they stood surrounding Bucky, unsure of what to do, waiting for him to sit up with a laugh and joke about spilled soup; they saw the skin of his limbs change. At first this flesh was a slight red, then it darkened, darkened down the length of his arms and legs. Still it continued to change. White blisters grew like radiated mushrooms. Larger, white lumps of epidermis domes, until too large, which caused them to pop, bursting down the line like pin-pricked soap bubbles, breaking open and then pealing back, layer upon layer until his skin was like plowed earth, an ashen, dusty, tissue-thin upturned field.
Hands reached toward Bucky, but Terry pushed through the circle, broke apart the pressing bodies, ordered them away.
“He’s in shock,” Terry yelled, “he’s in shock.”
Bucky moaned.
Terry grabbed the now cooling kettle and thrust it under Bucky’s feet to raise his legs. He lifted the legs and when he released the scalded flesh clung to his hands and pealed away with his grip.
“Damn,” he whispered. “Get me sheets, hurry.”
Frank sat back now, crying inwardly, though no tears escaped to embarrass him. He stared at Terry feeding sips of water to the sheet-shrouded Bucky, looking like a morbid Pieta, and knew deep within that he had suffered a terrible initiation. He was a member of a vast club. At that moment he felt the butt of some perverse joke played upon him, and he knew it would get his goat unto the end of his days.
After the excitement eased and the ambulance left and a day had passed, the scouts gathered on a hill for the final campfire. In turn they sang, each standing to lead the others in some favorite tune. When Frank’s turn came he stood and began to sing in a shaky, but miraculously on key, voice:
“There was a man of double deed,
Who sowed his garden full of seed…”
He led them through the song to the bitter end.
“Twas like a penknife in the heart;
And when my heart began to bleed,
Then I was dead, and dead indeed.”











3 comments:

Ron said...

Lar,
Oh how I wanted to join the Boy Scouts. But like so many other things, including buying my first yearbook (DHS 195), my Mother said "NO!" Now, hearing about your experiences as a Boy Scout, I'm glad I didn't join in the "fun" of stripping naked for all to see. By the way, I think all that stripping naked wasn't necessary, an excuse for a bit of voyeurism at play here for the pervs if you ask me. I've had to undergo such experiences myself, several times. Totally unnecessary to totally strip but we did like the time I applied for a job at Lukens Steel. A roomful of men of all ages and we all had to strip naked at the same time while we awaited the doctor to "check us out." In the meantime the secretaries were walking around. Even then (1963) I knew what was going on. Perv activity. I hope this practice has changed today in our extra sensitive times.
Ron

Larry Meredith said...

Ron,

I am glad I joined Troop 82. I probably would have gotten into a real bad time if not for the Boy Scouts and MYF at that time. There were only two instances that were negative. The First was trying to join Troop 2 with Stuart when we were brutalized by the Scouts there in a hazing and the experiences at Camp Horseshoe. The stripping naked to have the feet looked at was ridiculous, but happened on arrival so was quickly over with. The fear of swimming naked or the Capture the Flag threat was unfounded, but was in my head and that made it bad for me. My other experiences in Boy Scouting were some of the most enjoyable of my boyhood. I was also good friends then with the brother of your friend, Jack Dawson. I was friends with Jim and that was positive.

Lar

Jon said...

This post was very enlightening, since I was never a Boy Scout and knew nothing about it. From what you've revealed, I don't think I would have survived two days.

I think a lot of the required "strip-downs" were done solely to appease the perverts in charge. There's absolutely no need to be naked when being checked for athlete's foot.

I remember being in a car accident when I was around twenty. I had an injury to my neck and arm. The doctor insisted that I get entirely naked for the examination. Like a fool, I did so - - thinking that you can't question a doctor's authority. To this day I regret complying to his request. There was no need for it.