Friday, February 14, 2014

1960s Cub Scout Memories

My older brother and I are all decked out in our uniforms
My Bobcat Badge
The Boy Scouts celebrate the anniversary of their founding this month – so it's a good time for me to reminisce about being a Cub Scout in Lorain in the 1960s.

There's not a lot to reminisce about, however. Unlike my older brother who became a Boy Scout, I never advanced further than earning my Wolf badge. So I wasn't a Cub Scout very long.

I kind of regret that now, because I think the Boy Scouts are a very worthwhile organization, especially in this day and age. My young nephews down in Texas have been Scouts for years, and their lives have been enriched immensely by their involvement with Scouting.

But despite my too-brief Scouting career, I have a few pleasant memories.

I really liked my uniform, with its various pins (such as my Bobcat Badge) and patches. In fact, seeing those spiffy displays of Cub Scout uniforms in the Boys Departments of stores such as Kline's probably made me want to join in the first place (not unlike someone enlisting in the armed forces for the same reason)!
I enjoyed having a subscription to Boys Life, the official Boy Scout magazine (below).

Pedro the Mailburro
Circa 1960s
I loved to read, and looked forward to each issue. I especially enjoyed the cartoons (freckle-faced Pee Wee Harris, The Tracy Twins) and Pedro the burro's mail column. (Incidentally, I happened to look at a recent Boys Life at a doctor's office, and Pedro has been redesigned – hideously.)

The Den Meetings were fun. Our first Den Mother was Mrs. Krafcik, and I remember walking to her house near Masson School and doing crafts in her basement. (One of the projects involved painting a bunch of peas white, and then gluing them to a vase to create a gift for our unfortunate mothers.) Later, we had Mrs. O'Brien for our Den Mother, which was better for me since she lived in the next block on Skyline Drive. Plus, she tended to bake lots of goodies for our den – which we ate while watching cartoons.

The Pinewood Derby was a big deal and was held at Masson, which is where our "pack" was based. Since I was a big Peanuts fan, I carved my racer in the shape of Snoopy. It was a crowd favorite, but it did as poorly in the race as if it was carved by Charlie Brown himself.

Once we were going to have a big Scout outing at Mill Hollow. I think there was a big baseball game planned. But the whole thing was rained out and never rescheduled. I was rather relieved!

I remember a fundraising project in which we went door-to-door and sold Bob's Donuts. We took advance orders, collected the money and then delivered the donuts on a Saturday a few weeks later. It was a very good idea that I haven't seen done since, and it made me a fan of Bob's Donuts for life.

The thing I remember most about Cub Scouts was my Wolf handbook (above), which I enjoyed reading. The paint-by-number style illustrations on the cover really left a big impression on me. So did the drawings on the inside, which depicted an idealized world that wasn't quite a reflection of reality.

A typical den meeting as depicted in the Wolf handbook
The handbook also was the place to keep track of and write down your achievements towards your Wolf badge, and later, the completion of electives towards arrows for your uniform.

Here's a typical handbook spread describing an achievement ("Books") and what the Cub Scout needed to complete. The area in which a parent signed off as a witness that the task was completed is shown on the right. (I don't know how many times Dad mercifully signed off on an activity that I had sheepishly been unable to complete.)

Here are a few more spreads from the handbook. This one (below) is from the "Parties and Gifts" elective.

This one is from "Dramatics."
Like I said, I did earn my Wolf badge, but apparently lost interest in being a Cub Scout. 
Dad had enjoyed being a Boy Scout, and he never let on whether or not he was disappointed that none of his sons stayed in Scouting. (He couldn't make fishermen out of us either.) At least my nephews are keeping their grandfather's Scouting legacy alive.


Anonymous said...

How cute are you guys!


Dan Brady said...

Aw shucks… it's the uniforms! Note how I have NO arrow patches yet!

Anonymous said...

At least you have a photo of yourself in uniform. I have none of when I was a Girl Scout in 1968 and I had a great uniform (dress) that was from the 30s or 40s, a darker green with long sleeves. It was different than the other girls in the group and I hated it when my mother bought me one like theirs and gave that old one away!

Nice post today.

Ken said...

One of the few pictures of our nifty spage-age fireplace. I still have my books too, and Dad's from god-only-knows what year. Dad's book said a good scout should drink 6 glasses of water in the morning to raise his metabolism, so I did that for a while. A very well-hydrated scout. Your nephew Michael followed the Brady tradition and dropped out when it conflicted with Marching Band. In my defense, I didn't quit, I got kicked out for stepping on the scoutmaster's son's head and then punching him in the face (in a related incident). Your nephew Daniel is a Tenderfoot. Matthew is one of the senior leaders in his troop, and gathering the merit badges and doing the projects to become an Eagle Scout, which will be a first for our family I suppose. He will get special credit and will be able to wear a medal on his Texas A&M Corps of Cadets uniform when he follows his brother's footsteps in two years. Thanks for the nice memory, Dan.

Ken said...

By the way, I'm proud of you for carving your own Pinewood Derby Racer. I'm happy to let you know that even in the 21st Century, Santa still gives out pine-car blocks as gifts to the cub scouts at the christmas party. I wish my boys had carved their own. I've had to saw out about 20 cars over the years. The most I could get the boys to do was sand and paint (and decorate). Our cars lost because Dad didn't believe in weights, I remember. All the other Dads did. I learned my lesson back then and packed on the weights right up to the weigh-in!

MooiePie said...

Hi...I'm new to your blog! I stumbled across it while I was searching for the Blu Hole in Castalia. I grew up in Marshallville, Ohio, just south of Akron. Your blog is very reminiscent of my childhood and it it a pleasure to read! :)

Dan Brady said...

Thanks for leaving a comment! I Googled Marshallville, it looks like a nice place to live and grow up. Close to Orrville (Smuckers!), Route 30 (the Lincoln Highway) and Amish Country--what more could you ask for?

I did a few posts on Amish Country that you might find somewhat amusing, just type "Amish Country" up in the Search box (with the magnifying glass next to it) and it should pull them up.

Anonymous said...

What memories! I was going through this right about the exact time you were...1969 if I remember correctly.

I had the exact same Wolf handbook, but I think I got through Bear? as well, sounds familiar. We had a Den Mother. We did crafts.

The Pinewood Derby WAS cool! We entered a car that, quite frankly, my dad "helped" a little too much. I got 2nd place and one this really, really cool compass. I used it all the time, it had cool movable bezels on it. I had it in a hidden zippered pocket of my jacket (like a secret agent) and my MOM gave the jacket away!!!

I remember the Achievements and the Electives. Some were rather difficult, some were odd and open ended...there was a Religion one, or something of that manner, and your one activity was to "go to a house of worship of your choice". Ok.

There was one I believe for building boats, but neither Dad nor me could decipher the cryptic "plan" for the jet boat. I sure did want to make a jet boat.

For me, I got all the way through Cub Scouts, and joined Webelos. One of the first trips we made was with Mike Hillman and his dad, who drove me, my dad, and another of Mike Hillman's friends. Hillman was one of those guys that was nice to you when it was just him and you, but when he had another friend with, he was a dick to you. Yeah, that guy. That, and the fact that I didn't find the get togethers fun was nothing but talking about camping out, which is ok, but that is ALL that was discussed. I found it ho hum and dropped out. Still, much respect for scouting.