Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Hike with Scouts in Montana, August 1947

Hello friends:

Yesterday I opened an old box that had the note on it "Keepsakes - do not discard." In it I found all sorts of scout things including the diary of my Philmont trip in 1946, the hitch hike trip around the USA in 1947, the vagabond trip to Panama beginning in December of 1948 and lots of other things. Here is a story I wrote in September, 1947 and filed away only to be found 61 years later. It has never been published. I have made no changes to the original document. This is a story about a hike that I took with scouts camping at Melita Island on Flathead Lake. Looking at the Montana Boy Scout web site I find that they were totally unaware that scouts were using the site this early. I sent this story to the Montana scout executive and told him that I have lots of photos of this trip and more stories about expeditions I took with scouts from that island camp. Photos by Leonard Derby of Missoula, Montana.

NOTE: McDonald Peak is 9,820 ft in elevation with a good 5,640 ft sticking up beyond Sheeps Head.

Climbing Mt. McDonald August 4th 1947

By George F. Drake

“Whew!” gasped Kenneth. “That was a tough climb. Let’s rest awhile.”

“Agreed”, said Cy as he dropped to the ground.

We had just passed the last stand of timber and were now on the rocky slopes of the mountain. Above us loomed Sheep’s Head and beyond it lay McDonald Peak, both to be climbed that day.

"LOOKING SOUTH FROM McDONALD PEAK: To right hand side the diamond shaped peaks are called "Glacier Peaks." The lake in the center is appropriately named "Lake of the Clouds." The ridge is the one the two grizzlies were on. No hunting. Too bad!"
Notes by Leonard Derby of Missoula, Montana

Our party was made up of eight fellows. The leader was Cy Varnum, hike master of Melita Island Senior Scout Camp. Cy had lived in the western mountains all his life and had climbed in these hills many times. Another Melita Island Senior Scout Camp staff member, Earl Freels, Explorer Scout of Spokane, Washington, was with us. Leonard Derby, Kenneth Egan, Jr, Dick Waltermire, Clifford Wordel and Donald McGowan, all Explorer Scouts from Post 8, Missoula, Montana, and I made up the rest of the party.

"On our way up Sheep's Head." George Drake nearest the edge.

We had started hiking at six that morning at the foot of the Mission Range. At first climbing had been easy but as the trail had grown steeper the switchbacks had started. Every once in a while there had been openings among the trees on either side of us. On one side we could see the sections of land in the Flathead Valley laid out in geometric patterns which, from where we stood, resembled a gigantic checker board. On the further side we had caught glimpses of the Ashley Lakes with their emerald green water reflecting the mountains around them. Near the timber line we had seen wild flowers blooming in profusion. The forest floor was virtually covered with masses of red, yellow, white and blue flowers with the early morning dampness still on them, glistening in the sunlight.

After our rest we started climbing again. In front of us were snow capped peaks, glaciers and rocky cliffs. McDonald Peak, the highest in the Mission Range of the Rocky Mountains rose above us 10,000 ft. into the heavens.

"Looking west from Sheep's Head. Ashley Lakes in foreground."

“Our party is probably the first to ascend McDonald since two scouts climbed up there in 1939, eight years ago .” Said Cy. “A party of Jesuit priests from a mission in the valley was the first to the top. They erected a large cross on the summit.”

By noon we had reached the top of Sheep’s Head, 9,000 ft. above sea level. “Where does Sheep’s Head get its name? I asked Cy. “From the valley in the winter time its snow capped peak looks like an enormous sheep’s head.” He responded. “People often climb it but they stop here. The glaciers and sheer cliffs between Sheep’s Head and McDonald Peak make the climb too dangerous for most people. You need plenty of equipment = ice axes, crampons, pitons, rope, etc” he continued.

"On the way up Mt. McDonald. August 4th, 1947."

Later we crossed a small glacier on the southerly side of the mountain and with our canteens filled we spread out and worked our way up a broad sloping incline. There was so much loose rock that it was safer not to climb too closely behind one another. Our immediate objective was a saddle in the ridge between Sheep’s Head and McDonald Peak. When we pulled ourselves over the last pile of rocks we gasped in awe. In front of us was McDonald Glacier. Before we could only catch glimpses of portions of it but now we could see the full expanse of treacherous ice. More than a mile below us was the bottom of the glacier. I shudded to think what would have happened if one of us had been unfortunate enough to go careening down the slippery surface.

"Dick Waltermire, Kenneth Egan and Cy Varnum on the edge of the glacier."

After a slight pause we turned to ascend the final reaches of McDonald Peak. The outlook was poor. We could go neither right nor straight ahead. We chose the more perilous but shorter way, along the crest of the glacier itself. Each of us put a loop of the rope around our waist and ventured out on a crest of ice sixteen inches across. To our right was a crevice at least twenty feet deep and three feet wide. Beyond rose a cliff of sheer rock. To our left was the terrifying slope of the glacier.

“Just how steep is this glacier, Cy?” Donald asked, shuddering.

“Only about 43 degrees.”

"Looking down McDonald Glacier. McDonald Lake in upper right corner."

“Is that all?” Donald gulped and stepped gingerly forward. We proceeded, one behind the other, with Cy in the lead for half an hour. Suddenly I saw Kenneth Egan slip. His feet slid out from under him and down the glacier he went. Instinctively everyone braced himself for the jolt. We dug in praying that the rope would hold. As soon as Kenny stopped sliding we pulled him back to his place in line on the ridge of ice. When everyone gained confidence once more we went on. “I have been on many hikes and camping trips in my eight years of scouting but this has them all beat” Earl exclaimed. Finally, by popular vote we decided to get off the ice and climb on the rock where we thought the going would be easier. Cy spied a ledge above us in the rock. He untied himself and with the ax went on ahead intending on reaching the ledge by ascending an icy slope. With a cry Dick Waltermire called him back. Taking the ax he smacked the ice where Cy had just been. It cracked and fell to the bottom of the crevice.

"The boy is Donald McGowan of Missoula. McDonald Peak is in the background."

Cy, wiping his brow, started for the ledge again, this time making a wider circuit of the crevice. After a successful leap he tied the tope on the ax which he wedged securely into a crack in the rock. Then he let down the rope to us to climb to join him. Have you ever climbed up a rope suspended over a rock ledge? Your muscles tighten and you swallow hard. There is no real choice but to hang on. You are too frightened to think of the consequences of letting go. So it was as we went, one by one, up that rope dangling over the icy crevice below.

With everyone safely on the rock we continued the short, steep climb that lay ahead of us and accomplished it with some strain and puffing. Only a narrow ridge remained between us and the last upward thrust of the peak. At that point two of the fellows dropped to the ground exhausted. They decided to wait where they were for us to come back. The others dashed on ahead. Cy and I followed about 100 yards behind. When we were half way across the remaining narrow ridge we all froze in our tracks. Directly in front of us at the far end of the ridge two young grizzly bears popped up, seemingly from nowhere. The bears, too, stopped movement at the sight of us. Not until they had turned and scampered away did we dare to move. Further up near the peak we found some shallow spots in the rock that showed evidence of the bears having slept there.

At last we reached the top of McDonald Peak. We seemed to be standing on a cloud with the world at our feet. To the south we could see row upon row of mountain ranges and snow covered mountain peaks. We saw the Glacier Peaks with snow and ice on their slopes. High up in the mountains was the Lake of the Clouds. Nearby was Mountaineer Glacier, largest in the Northwest. To the north rose Mt. Harding. Flathead Lake was visible in the distance. To the west were the farm lands of Flathead Valley and near our feet, the Ashley Lakes. On the other side of the ridge leading up to Mt. McDonald was McDonald Lake.

"Cy Varnum and Kenneth Egan on top of McDonald Peak add a rock to the cairn on top of the peak."

Cy took a mirror out of his pack and started signaling toward Ronan, about fifteen miles away. Cy had told his father to look out for signals. Presently tiny flashes of light came back, telling us that someone knew we had reached the top. I wrote all of our names on a leaf of my notebook, wrapped it in a bit of foil and placed it in a can that we buried in the cairn on the summit of the mountain. Then we headed back down the mountain.

Instead of trying to cross the ice again we went down the south side of the peak. Even though the slope was frightfully steep we descended with some speed on the loose rock. Soon we were again at the timber line.

It was evening when we reached the first of the Ashley Lakes where we picked up a trail. Shortly, though, the trail ended on a rock ledge. All efforts failed to regain it failing we sruck out on the same level for the ridge where Cy knew there was a path. To cut across a mountain side in the dark, making your own trail is no easy task as we soon found out. In many places the hillside was so steep that we started sliding. In the darkness we grabbed the most convenient tree, shrub or bush which often turned out to be a briar bush or wild rose. What carried us forward I will never know. It seemed as though we had lost all our senses. We couldn’t see, had no energy to talk nor could we think. We just threw one foot in front of the other and gravity did the rest.

Suddenly, with a cry of victory, Darby fell exhausted on the ridge trail, solid beneath our feet and easy to follow even in the dark. At 11:05 p.m. we reached our base camp after seventeen hours of rugged hiking and thrilling adventure.

A Chat With Two Native American Boys

At noon today (25 July) I hosted a lunch for the Mayor of Tateyama, Japan and about 15 others from that city who are visiting Bellingham. They are here celebrating 50 years as Bellingham's Sister City. The lunch was in Big Rock Garden Park, a 2-1/2 acre sculpture garden that my wife and I developed over 25 years ago as a nursery to provide a sheltered employment for brain damaged, mentally ill and mentally retarded young individuals. It now serves as he city sculpture garden. After the lunch I brought the group down the path to our house. There I showed them the 150 year old log cabin made of old growth cedar slabs with dove-tail corners which I had salvaged from a site about 20 miles away. I numbered each log and reconstructed the structure in my yard. I also showed the Japanese visitors several Hudson Bay blankets that we had, one a brown four point blanket and the other, a white one, a three and a half point blanket. I explained how the British Hudson Bay company traders exchanged these blankets for 3 and a half beaver pelts or for four beaver pelts depending on the number of stripes on the blanket. The blankets also were over 100 years old. I use them on my bed.

In the evening I joined the group of Japanese visitors in a farewell party of fun, western folk dancing and games. At the end of the evening, Shingo Ito, a young student from Japan studying at the local university who works for me when not in class and I were leaving the building when confronted by two teen age Native Americans who asked if we had any food left over as they were hungry and had a ten mile walk back to the reservation. I instantly responded "Hell yes, come on in." and took them to the kitchen where the staff was putting away the left overs of the evening meal. I asked them to fill two plates with food, which they did. One of the boys asked if any of our group were going toward the reservation and I said I was. Shingo looked at me with wonder as this was opposite the direction to his apartment and no where near the road to my house.

As we drove to the Lummi Reservation I got the kids to talk. They shortly found out that I knew their aunt, their grandmother and many other relatives and elders in the tribe. The younger brother told me that he recently went through a naming ceremony held in the shaker smoke house. I congratulated him and told him to treasure his new Indian name and his culture, to protect them and to pass them on to his children and to his children's children. Shortly the older boy (18 or 19 years old) admitted that he had just been released from jail and that he was an alcoholic. I told him to join his younger brother in the smoke house and to go to the sweat lodge with the members of that faith. Believe in them, I said, they love you and want to keep you close to their hearts. They will help you to give up the alcohol and the need to escape from an unfriendly world. I told them that they had a wonderful treasure, a culture passed on to them by ancestors who predated any white man in the region. Hold on to it, preserve it, treasure it and be proud of it, I told them. We talked all the way to the reservation.

When we arrived at the edge of the reservation I stopped the car and got out and opened the door for one of the boys. The other got out on the other side of the car. The younger came forward and offered me his hand and said "Hysqe hsiam, Hysqe." His older brother came from around the car and said "Let me hug you" which he did, and then as he backed off, with tears in his eyes, also said Hysqe hsiam." (thank you, friend.) They walked off in the darkness and I got back in the car.

As we drove back to Bellingham Shingo Ito said "This has been a wonderful day. I have gotten to know more of American today. Thank you, domo arigato Drake sensi."

Peace and love to you all.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Search for Bill Gregory

Bill Gregory, son of Taylor Gregory, Scoutmaster of Troop 59 in Manasquan, ran a florist shop in town until recently "Gregory and Sons, Florist". A very helpful gentleman at the Bouquets to Remember shop explained that the Gregory family had sold the shop, houses were built there and that Bill had retired to Ocean County. I have reached out to Mr. Michael Applegate, Thunderbird District Commissioner to get connected with Mr. Gregory and the Troop 59 historical records.

David Crow

Badge Collection

As I look around at all the scouting stuff I have here I have decided that I will send to you the negatives of the pictures of each page of that collection of badges. You can have them printed or do what you want with them. I have a set of 4" x 6" prints of each negative. That is all that I need for anything further that I will do with the collection. Somewhere I have a copy of the index to the collection and over time I might find it as I go through all my 'stuff.'

Chris Roberts, founder of the Phoenix Patrol of Montana (Google 'Melita Island' and you will find his web site.) just called me and we talked for over one hour. He was excited as all hell at my story of the hike up Mt. McDonald. He is the person most responsible for saving Melita Island as a scout camp. His experiences with some senior BSA folks was less than inspiring.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

German Olagary Palacios - Mexico City 1949

"German Olagary Palacios, leader of Scout Group VII in Mexico City, Mexico taken by Manasquan Boy Scout George F. Drake in January, 1949."

Yup. That's the photo. I gave a nice portrait size copy to German [pronounced 'Herman' with the emphasis on the last syllable.] on a trip to Mexico City about 10 years ago or so.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Korean Orphans

Several hours after our conversation I received a phone call from a Tommy Kim who is writing a novel about a youth orphaned in the Korean War and wandering the streets of Seoul looking for help. He found my web site and has used the material there, especially the photographs, to give him a better understanding of what it was like to be on the streets in wartime. I gave him the phone numbers of several Korean War orphans to call. One lived on the streets from age four to age six with a gang that lived in the railroad yards of Seoul. The gang was his family. He is a good friend of mine and is now the CEO and owner of a major US medical instrument manufacturing business in Indiana. Another war orphan friend of mine, author of the book Chesi's Story , was the kid Hollywood actress Terry Moore wanted to adopt. She told him that her husband, Howard Hughes, would send him to any university he selected when he was old enough. This dumb kid ;-) turned her down for an Air Force Sgt. When my photo exhibit "GIs and the Kids - a Love Story" opened at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas he got Terry Moore to attend. Terry brought her friend Jane Russell and the two of them were the MCs for the evening program. By the way, Buz Aldrin, also a Korean War Veteran came as a 'no fee' speaker. I found out he came because he knew Terry Moore was coming and he, at one time, proposed to her only to be turned down. I wanted a group photo; the Korean War orphan who turned down Terry Moore's offer of adoption, Terry Moore who turned down Buzz Aldrin's offer of marriage and Buzz Aldrin who was there with his current wife. I would have called that picture "Photo of a Could-have-been Family." Life can be truly fascinating, can't it. A third Korean War orphan I turned him on to was Joseph Anthony whose remarkable story of survival is told in his book "the Rascal and the Pilgrim."

Tommy Kim wanted to talk to me because he was frustrated with the Korean 'cover up' of the story of the orphans of the Korean War. He was absolutely astonished when I told him that I had documented that we GIs had saved the lives of over 10,000 children during those war years. He will call again tomorrow. He said he just HAS to get more of this story from me. I'm game. He can call any time he wants.

A few facts regarding our conversation earlier today. I donated my collection of badges to the BSA in early 1952. I handed it over to Art McKinney who was assistant to the Chief Scout Executive. The collection included insignia from the 1935 and 1939 World Scout Jamborees and from other European national jamborees even earlier than that. Those early badges I got while staying at the Roland House, the British Boy Scout hostel in Stepney Green in London. That was about September of 1950. From there I made a number of visits to Gillwell Park, to the international headquarters of scouting and to the Imperial Hq. of the Boy Scouts Association of Britain.

WOW !!! Out of curiosity I just went to GOOGLE and typed in 'Roland House' and read the history of that establishment and about the life of Roland Phillips. I noted that there was a link to the web site of Groupo VII in Mexico City that was named after Roland Phillips. And lo and behold, I was HOME with my old Mexican boy scout group. When I arrived in Mexico City in January of 1949 I quickly made contact with the Boy Scouts of Mexico and within two days I was invited to stay at the home of German Olagaray Palacios. Much to my surprise I find that he was/is one of the best known and respected scouters in Mexico and even more astonishing to me was to find that the portrait of him on that web site biography page was a photo that I took in January of 1949!

When I was in Mexico this past February with my wife we had a reunion with German and his wife, formerly a leader in the Girl Scouts of Cuba and with Carlos Olagary, his younger brother and his wife in Carlos' home in Ciudad Satelite to the north of Mexico City. What a grand afternoon and evening that was. We reminisced about those days almost sixty years earlier when I went with scouts from Groupo VII to the Mexican Scout camp at Teponaxtle, climbed Mt. Popocapetl, explored the caverns of Cocahuamilpa and hiked from Xochomilco over the old Cortez road to Cuernavaca. On the Groupo VII web site they talk of that first trek from Mexico City over the mountain to Cuernavaca and I realize that I was on that hike with them! I have a lot of photos to send to the web master to add to their web site. Some of the pages in their web site are in English but the one with the biography of my Mexican scout brother, Geman Olagaray P., is in Spanish. Check out the web site at:



Unfortunately I have not been able to copy and paste the photo of German that is with his biography. It is a picture I took of him sitting in an opening in a bell tower of a church on one of our hikes.

I just HAVE to relate to you a story on that hike to Cuernavaca from Xochomilco. The old Cortez cobble stone road went straight down the mountain into Cuernavaca while the automobile road zig-zagged down the mountain. Accordingly the Cortez road crossed the paved road several times. At one of those crossings there was a gas station and in it was a car with a New Jersey license plate. The driver called "Do any of you guys speak English?" With a fake accent I responded "See senior, I speek a leetle." He asked if this was the road to Cuernavaca and I responded "See senior." Then, to his astonishment I said "Meester, I see you are from Essex County, New Jersey. Welcome to Mexico." You could have knocked him over with a feather. "How do you know that?" as asked. "In Mexico we study geography, meester." I don't know if license plate numbers still are indicative of the county of issue but back in 1948 they were. As I walked away, chortling under my breath I heard him yell "Mabel, you will never believe what just happened!"

"A Scout is cheerful!" See seenior! Muy cheerful.

Oh, by the way reference to my comments on Chinese philosophy "ti" means essence or spirit while "Yung" means use. Gu-wen is old writings and Gin-wen is new language or writings. The issue was whether one could accept a new use without loosing the spirit of the old. Can we teach the reality of living and how to survive in the urban jungle without loosing the essence of scout values that were so solidly entrenched and expressed in camping and the outdoors? Did scouting build a box that is irrelevant to today's youth? Can scouting offer an alternative to urban youth gangs? Do we need a new paradigm to make scouting more relevant in today's world?

A distant example of this was a Rover Scout investiture ceremony I attended atop a peak in the Teponaxtle National Park in Mexico. The ceremony was straight out of the British scout manual. I found it totally incongruous to have a 'knighting ceremony' with sword placed on the shoulder of a scout kneeling on one knee in the middle of an ancient Aztec ruin. Afterwards the Rover scouts had a meal of pinole, queso de Oaxaca rolled on a stick and melted in the fire, tortillas, etc. i.e., a truly Mexican peasant meal. I questioned German and the leaders of this Rover group why they did not adapt the ceremony to use something from the Aztec tradition and make it a truly Mexican ceremony. Somehow they felt that if they gave up the British Rover Scout traditional ceremony it would not be legitimate. We had a long discussion on that issue and later I found that the discussion continued between themselves in one of their scouting publications.

Several more of your remarks made me think of how I must have irritated scout leaders over the years. One time when I was visiting my aunt and uncle in Yakima, Washington I visited the local scout office and ended up being asked to give a short talk to a dinner function for members of the Order of the Arrow. Well I told them a few anecdotes about scouting in Latin America and compared it to scouting in the USA. I remarked about the Scouts parading at a national celebration in San Jose, Costa Rica. I stood on the reviewing platform with the Chief Scout of Costa Rica, Conrad Meinike Kokemper Meza Jr. as the troops passed by with their flags. Many of the scouts were in uniform but many of the boys only had a scarf identifying them as a member of their unit. I also noted that there were boys in that parade barefoot. They did not own a pair of shoes! The uniform did not make the boy a scout and a lack of it did not preclude their participation in that parade. A complete scout uniform was neither a necessary nor sufficient condition to be a scout.

I contrasted that with the BSA where to attend a jamboree you need an official short sleeve scout shirt, an official long sleeve scout shirt, kerchif, official scout short pants, official scout long pants, official scout belt, official scout sox, official scout shoes, official scout hat, a scout toothbrush, comb, etc, etc, etc, etc. I said families have to get a mortgage on their homes to dress a kid to send him to an official BSA jamboree. Maybe a bit of exaggeration but I was trying to make a point that scouting in America, in my opinion, had become a business that obviously was going to close a door to the youth who did not have that kind of money. "Oh," I was told, "any scout can afford a uniform." Uh huh. What they really were telling me is that scouting is a middle-class activity that doesn't even have the ability to see the kids in the lowest socio-economic brackets. Those kids join gangs to get the sense of belonging scouts get in their patrols and troops. Those kids learn the values of the gang and not the values scouting has to offer. But then, you really don't want your nice kids associating with those delinquents, do you?

I am lazy. I only have questions, not answers. I used to think I knew a lot. Now I realize how little I really know.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Philosophy of Change

Too bad we don't live closer so we could go on a 30 mile bike ride and chatter all the way. I have a professional friend who needs to get away from his place of business and when he is "up the wall" with stress he calls and says "Let's go for a bike ride." He then 'dumps' on me what he can not say in the office/shop to anyone. I am afraid that I 'dumped' on you today and apologize for taking so much of your time. I am feeling a lot better about getting my house in order and trying to find a use for my life experiences.

When at the University of Wisconsin I participated in a seminar on the evaluation of values. It was taught by a 'John Dewey Professor of Philosophy' and was probably one of the most influential academic experiences I had while in the doctoral program at U.Wisconsin, Madison. When I look at the 'use value' of scouting values I find that they are 'right on' when it comes to survival in our social environment. But each generation (or rather, continually) we have to re-evaluate the value in its operational format to see if the value is still consistant with survival given the nature of the continually changing environment. It is the operational definition of the value (how do you operationalize ''loyal," "friendly," etc. ? ) that gets us into trouble with those who make the definitions. [There are good and bad people in this world and the good make all the definitions.]

A value held because it is 'mine' rather than because it is 'useful' has little survival value for the institution. What is the value of camping when most of our youth live in an urban environment, in the urban jungle rather than the one of dense vegetation and massive snakes? Can the organization adapt and, while holding on to the core values, change the operational definition of those values, i.e., how they are to be acted out in daily living?

I can take this into the realm of Chinese philosophy and the argument between 't'i and yung, between chin-wen and gu-wen schools of philosophy. It is really a philosophy of social change.

BSA leadership ignores these forces of change at their peril.

'nuf of that.

The question before me now is "how can my life experiences be of USE to the BSA and the Monmouth County Council, BSA"? Putting my collection of scouting artifacts in a box in the back room of the museum is not the answer. Using this material to illustrate the impact of core values of scouting on the life of an individual scout and the impact this has had not only in his life but in the lives of disadvantaged populations in many diverse nations all over the world, might be of use in reinforcing the pragmatic value of those wordy abstractions and lofty ideals.

Regards, and thanks for the ear.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Doctor Drake?

Ah, yes, the "Doctor" title. When I got the Ph.D. my mother-in-law,
who was from Dresden, told my wife that now she will be known as Frau
Doctor Professor Drake. My mother in law was old fashioned and took
such things VERY seriously.

Frankly, now that I am out of the academic setting I do not use the
"Doctor" title and look askance when someone uses that when
addressing me. Too often the title creates a social distance that is
uncalled for and mitigates against free and easy communication. I
quickly tell them that the name is "George." That is how I prefer to
be called.

Regards to all,


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More on Native Americans

My relationship to our Native American community goes way back in my scouting history. When we first moved to Manasquan from northern New Jersey (1941?) I quickly learned that once the farmers did their fall plowing and following the first rain thereafter it was worth while to walk the newly plowed fields to look for arrow heads. I learned which fields along the Manasquan River had been used by the Indians and found scores of arrowheads now sitting on top of the plowed furrows. I also found some sharks teeth fossils as many of those old fields had been fertilized with marl dug from pits in the area. In my explorations of the area I found stone geodes (?), i.e. stone pipes and balls, the pipes being about 6" to 8" long and about 2" in diameter. The balls were about 3" - 4" in diameter. These were irregular formations, not smooth. When broken open inside the shell (about 1/4 inch thick) one found powder. One of them was orange and the other was red. I can not remember which was which. Legend had it that this powder was used for making body paint by the local Indians. I recall finding a lot of them on Treasure Island (supposedly used as inspiration by R.L.Stevenson) in the Manasquan River, a place where some of us scouts used to camp.

I was entranced with the stories of our Native Americans and read all I could about them. I recall as a youngster hitch hiking or taking the Jersey Central train to New York City and going to the Heye Foundation of the American Indian to study their exhibits on Indians. One time when I was in the 8th grade (that would make me 13 or 14 years old) in the Allenwood Grammar School I organized a class field trip to NYC to visit the American Museum of Natural History and the Heye Foundation of the American Indian. What I failed to do was to inform the teacher/principal of the school that five of us were going to play hookey and go to NYC. Since there were only 11 of us in the 8th grade this made our absence quite conspicuous. My mom laughed at the consternation of the teacher but I guess some of the other parents did not take it too well. I only took a group once but I often did it by myself. I hear that one can no longer hitch hike at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel in NYC. Oh, well, things do change, don't they?

One day I decided to make myself an Indian headdress so I searched in all the books I could find for information on the construction of the traditional headdress and began the process of making one. First I found an old felt hat that fit me and cut off the brim. Then I had to locate appropriate feathers. I found the feather market located under the Brooklyn Bridge on another of my hitch-hike trips to NYC and purchased a batch of turkey feathers, black on the top but white all the way to the base of the quill. Then I got a batch of 'fluffies' which were short feathers, about 4 or 5 inches long that were more like a small feather duster than a nice flat feather. The final type of feather was the one that was attached to the top of the turkey feather along with several strands of horse hair. As I recall there were 14 distinct steps in preparing a feather for the war bonnet. Chick Hancock, also of Troop 59, joined me in this enterprise. He was part Indian so he had a special interest in the activity. When the headdress was done I made a tail using a bright red felt material and then a number of 'bustles' and a piece that was worn horizontally across the back from hand to hand. It was an awesome costume when done.

To go with the headdress and other feathered items I decided I needed a buck skin outfit. So again I went to NYC to the leather market where one found shop after shop of leather hides of all types. I explained to one shop keeper what I wanted and he took a lot of time with this 14 or 15 year old kid to explain how to tell the quality of a deer skin hide. He helped me select several hides and I went home to Manasquan to begin making my buckskin outfit. Using illustrations from various books on Indian lore I designed the shirt, the leggins and the breech clout. For thread I cut a fine cord from the buckskin and stitched the whole thing together with that buck skin cord. The shirt was heavy and did not 'breathe' very well.

Now, having made the full costume I decided to learn Indian dancing. I was able to locate several books on Indian dancing and taught myself the dance steps. I also taught myself the hoop dance, done, of course, without the headdress and feathered bustles. Having all this gear and dancing skill now I started putting on Indian dances for scout gatherings. When I went in the army in 1951 I donated the headdress and leggins and breech clout to the Order of the Arrow, Lodge 9, of which I was a member. I kept the shirt and finally gave it to a cousin of mine in California. I wonder if that headdress is still in existence? I have a photo of me posing with it.

In 1946 , when I was but 15 years old, I took off from NJ with my knapsack and a sleeping bag and headed out west. I hitch-hiked about 4,000 miles that summer visiting scout camps and Native American reservations and attended many pow-wows. In La Junta, Colorado I spent four or five days with Buck Burshears who created the Boy Scout troop called the Koshare Indians. All the boys in that troop had made their own Native American costume and learned Indian dances. They were about ready to put on a pow-wow in a local stadium so I joined them. I slept at night on bear skins in a tepee pitched in the middle of the stadium . I did not dance in the public performances but did do so at their campfires. It was an incredible experience. At Burshears home he would open up chests and chests of Navajo and other tribal Indian jewelry and show them to me. I felt that I had died and had gone to Indian heaven.

Years later on a visit to Mexico City I went to the tiangis (flee market) at La Lagunilla on a Sunday morning. That market is about five blocks long and contains four or five rows of tables or stalls wherein local merchants sell everything imaginable. The reputation is that what was stolen last night will be for sale in La Lagunilla the next day. Well on this particular visit in about the fifth stall I spotted a magnificent Navajo bolo tie with an immense turquoise stone surrounded by red coral chips on a silver base and with two bear claws on the top. It was signed by Jim Redfeather and had his sign inscribed on the back of the piece under his name. I enquired "Cuanto valle?" (how much) and was told $200 dollars. I rolled my eyes and exclaimed "Ni riesgo." which essentially means "no way!" But I knew I was going to get that bolo tie. So I walked the full length of the tiangis and on return asked the vender, a woman, if she was running a museum. She did not understand the question so I explained that if her price was so high she was merely showing her wares and not selling them. She asked me how much I wanted to pay and I responded $50. It was her turn to exclaim "too little." At this point her neighbors got involved. "Come on mister, buy it. Her husband is in the hospital and she needs the money." I responded that while I was sympathetic with her husband's situation that had nothing to do with the price of the work. "Come on mister," called another neighbor, "it is worth it." I responded "I know what it is worth but we are discussing the price which is another thing." So I left again knowing full well someone could come along and purchase the item. On my return it was still there so I said, "OK, what is your final offer?" "$150" she responded. "I'll buy it" I said and put down $100. She said that was not enough so I added ten dollars. Still not enough. "No," I said, "Now you have to make me a better offer." She dropped the price to $135. I put down $125 and said that was my best offer. She refused it but the neighbors got involved knowing full well that we were closing in on a deal but wanted me to be the one to give in and pay the $135. After much encouragement by her circle of friends I asked "Do your friends always help you like this?" Yes, she replied. "OK," I responded, "I will pay you $135 for the piece provided you buy each of them a beer thanking them for their help and we celebrate the sale." The group howled with laughter knowing full well that she could not say NO. So we had a small party there and parted with smiles all around. I have since been offered over $1,000 for the piece. It is one of my treasures.

I made my headdress with turkey feathers because it is against the law for non-natives to have eagle feathers. But one time I not only had one eagle feather, I had a full eagle feather headdress including the bird's tail. Here is how I got it. I paid the international air fare for a young man of a native community in the Amazon jungle to fly to Seattle, Washington and spend ten days with me in Bellingham. When I met him at SEATAC airport in Seattle he spotted a very obese baggage clerk and remarked "In the jungle we eat pigs when they get that big!" Several years later I spent time with him in the jungle and understood why the natives never got so obese. But, back to the eagle feathers = Edmundo had brought with him not only his personal native costume (on the plane he wore a T-shirt and Levis.) but lots of other items for possible sale. He had a certificate of permission from the government of Ecuador to export these items. Among them was this incredible eagle headdress for which he wanted $1,200. It was worth every penny of it but only a Native American could legally own it. When he returned to his native tribe he left the item with me to sell and I hid it in my safe until I could get it to the local Indian reservation. The head of the Lummi tribe said he would try to find a buyer but he ultimately asked me to take it back as he had no time to play merchant. So I was stuck with this item in my office, hoping no law officer would find out that I had it.

One day the local art guild featured an exhibit of Native American art. I got in for a preview and spotted a magnificent moon mask and a very large sun mask by a Kwakiutle Indian carver. i ended up buying the moon mask but at the close of the show when the artist, Omukin, showed up to get the large sun mask which had not sold I asked him to come to my office. I showed him the eagle headdress and offered it to him in exchange for the 6' diameter sun mask. He agreed. Then I called friends for donations and raised enough money to donate the sun mask to the park near my home where it is affixed to a building in the park with a sign "Dedicated to our Native American Friends and Neighbors." On my next trip to the jungle I gave Edmundo his money.

I have more Indian stories to tell later.


Pearce Introduces Forestburg Scout Reservation

As you know, the Indian traditions are deep throughout Scouting.
Many think it is "show" for the boys. But as you say, when close to nature , which is why Baden Powell took to the woods with Scouting, you get to the core of yourself real fast. The American Indians have it right.

This song was sung to open campfires in our Forestburg summer camp for many years.
When sung properly by a "Chief" high above the campfire ring on a rock face cliff, with the setting sun just about to drop the site into darkness, it sends any boy, and many others, into that special place in your soul that no building, doors, or pulpit can match.

Sadly the tradition was dropped years ago by those who did not understand the words, not the intent. They went "modern", and few of the openings I have seen since are worthy to set the right tone and mystery of a campfire in woods with only a waterfall, a frog croak and insect noises in the background.

You were away from Monmouth Council when we bought and developed this camp in 1956. The waterfall (75 feet), the cliff (40 feet) the 1200 acres with 25 miles of trails, the 70 acre lake, all within 3 hours of our county. Is very special. About 12 miles north of Port Jervis, NY on route 42.


Pearce Recollections


It seems we have some very common "roots" through Scouting.

I told you in my last email that I was a Scout who had the influence of
Scoutmaster Larry Heppa of Troop 31 Spring Lake. Another "influence" on
this young Scout was Taylor Gregory. he was our 1966 Philmoint contingent

He, Mr. Heppa, and my father, long time Troop 69 Scoutmaster, all formed a
Triumpherant of Scoutmasters in the old Southern District that executives
at council office always tried to keep on the "right side".
We camped, all three troops, together often. Some of my fondest ,memories
were the SPLs getting together before any camporee or summer camp
competitions and develoiping strategy to ensure that all other Troops were
eliminated, so that the 3 of us could battle it out for 1rst, 2nd, third.
Then we would combine the "winnings" be they watermelons, ice cream, cakes,
whatever, into a big joint troop campfire celebration.

Taylor was even in his 60's when he led us to Philmont, a tough and
demanding SM. The Troop still meets in its "Cabin". Not the one you did,
it burned down, but in the same place. They still collect newspapers twice
a month. I believe it started back in the Depression, and is a Manasquan
town tradition. they are still sponsored by the Manasquan United Methodist
Church (80 years). Your comment about trucking to the bathroom is right on
the point. Manasquan, not that many years ago, showed up with a moving
van, generator, mega tent and bunks at a camporee. They backpack, but have
always maintained a differnt level of "camping". they ave always been and
still are, a cornerstone of Scouting in southern Monmouth.
the Brielle troop and Cub Pack are still alive as well. I was CM of Pack
63 and Committee chair of the Troop 63 for many years.

Regarding the segregated Troops. My home troop 69 was created about 1950.
Its first Eagle Scout was a Fellow by the name of Clark in 1954 I believe.
I met him at a Troop reunion about 20 years ago. He is black. he had
polio right after returning from service in WWII. he contracted the
disease the same day he took a plane ride with Bill Weise, a Navy pilot
also home from the war. They had taken a flight out of the old SLH
"airport" which was a golf course that summer day. Both were in crutches
and braces the rest of their lives. They were all Scouts in the old Spring
Lake Troop 31 under Mr Mountz until Larry Heppa took the Troop. Mr Clark
moved over to the new Spring Lake Heights Troop, a Mr Cookson.
Bill Weise and my father were Eagles. I camped with two of Bill Weises sons
as a scout. Steve, my age, went to the US Naval Academy, and was a naval

It would be fun to spend a day in camp, and an evening at a campfire with
you and some new scouts!

Bill Pearce

Snakes why did it have to be snakes?

Thanks for your lengthy response to my questions of eligibility to be recognized as a "legitimate" scout in today's world.

What I see happening here is that the collective responses to my initial contact information has released a whole string of memories and emotions in me and I find that I am now finally putting in print things that I should have written down years ago but have been too busy to do so. I have often been told "Drake you just have to write your stories down before you get run over by a garbage truck while out on the road on your bicycle." I find this format very conducive to doing the writing. I had been looking for a way to get started writing my memoirs and possibly this is it. So, tell me more about setting up a 'blog.'

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you mention several things that I would like to comment on. One is the Order of the Arrow, Lodge 9. I was a member of that lodge and was inducted in it at Camp Cowaw in 1947.

First though, let me tell you some of my memories about Camp Cowaw. I had served in the summer of 1947 as the Nature Instructor. That was the year the song "Nature Boy" was a popular hit and that name became my unofficial title for the duration of the summer. I recall the first night scouts were in camp. The camp director told all the young scouts that if anyone saw a rattle snake they were to call Drake. Well it wasn't too much later when someone yelled "Drake - snake." So I went running with my forked snake stick and there was a large, healthy rattler coiled up, rattling and poised for a confrontation in the center of a large ring of kids all waiting for Drake to put on a show of how to capture a rattlesnake. What they did not know was that I had never confronted a rattlesnake before but with a show of bravado I went forward and executed a perfect pin and took the snake behind the skull with the left hand while holding it pinned with the stick in the right hand. Once in my grasp I carried it like the pied piper with a string of scouts following me to the reptile tank. When I dropped it in the tank I got a rousing cheer from the gang. It became fairly routine after that but that first one was a true baptism under fire. Later when I led a group of the scouts on an overnight hike to a camp on the other side of the 'mountain' I carried with me several rattle snakes in a sack to trade for copper heads which were found on their side of the hill but not on ours. I am not too sure I would do that today.

The camp nurse was young, beautiful and a wild flirt. It didn't take long and the camp director probably decided that the next camp nurse would be 80 years old and a strict disciplinarian. On Saturday nights a group of us "older scouts" would squeeze into my car, with the camp nurse, and drive to Stroudsberg, PA where we would head for a German bar and soak up the beer and have a rousing good time! I have forgotten what else we did... ;-)

When it came to nature studies I was truly a "nature boy." I probably knew the name of every wild flower within 20 miles of Manasquan. I had a large collection of tree cross sections - about 3" in diameter and 6" tall with a section cut out to show the cross section and then a diagonal at the top. In addition I had amassed a collection of animal skulls which I got from kids back when I was going to Allenwood Grammar School... which in those times had four class rooms for the eight grades. There were eleven members in my 8th grade. A number of the boys had trap lines in the winter and would give me the skulls of the animals they caught. I also ended up with a cow skull and a horse skull which I carefully cleaned, hinged the jaws and installed a spring so the jaws would flex. I spotted a dead cat along the roadside and over time watched it rot. Finally I took it in the house and put it in a pot of water and set it on the bed of coals in the furnace hoping to boil away all the remaining flesh, skin, etc. Well, at about 4:30 pm while I was up in the attic of the house working in my 'museum' where I had my collections of all sorts of things I heard my mother come home. She was early. Knowing that her routine was to go to the basement, shake down the fire and put more coals on it I raced to the basement in time to see her open the furnace door and find the cat boiling away. Her reaction still makes me feel guilty that a kid could do that to his mother. The net result was that I had to buy her a new pot as that one was not permitted back in the kitchen. I was sure it was sterilized by boiling and could not understand her reaction. I was able to fully reconstruct that cat's skeleton. It was a great addition to my collection.

More, later.

Maybe a Blog?


We have quite a "Blog" going here! Maybe that format could be used by the to share your stories and elicit additional comments as I have again provided below.

The requirement today regarding the twelfth point of the Scout Law is the same as 100 years ago as interpreted by lawyers hired by the BSA National Council - it is the "Declaration of Religious Principle" and reads as follows:

"The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing to subscribe to these precepts from the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of leadership."

Only you can decide where you are in your relationship to God but BSA as I interpret it has never specified the nature of that belief. The only jam people put themselves in is when they absolutely deny the existence of God or cannot in good faith agree to the statement above. For youth the wording is the same but parents must sign if they are not yet 18 years of age.

Your life story and anecdotes strike me as very Reverent and in my experience Scouting and Scouters are very accepting of each person's exemplification of their relationship to God. I personally cannot tell you very accurately what beliefs are and church, temple, mosque etc. affiliations are. I know I have helped lead Jewish services at Camp and worked intensively with kosher Troops at the 93 National Jamboree. Monmouth Council's Forestburg Scout Reservation (Forestburgh, NY in Catskills) this summer has actually taken over the traditional Jewish Scouting program from Ten Mile River (Greater New York Councils) of which I am very proud. Not too bad for a Congregational/Presbyterian/Methodist Scouter!

In regard to Native American influence there is a significant history in New Jersey and with Scouting. High points go like this:

1) Two Philadelphia Council Scout Professionals charged with running Treasure Island Scout Camp in the Delaware River in 1915 created a Native American (Lenape or Delaware Indian) themed Camp Promotion society called the Order of the Arrow. Monmouth Council had a "Lodge of the Order of the Arrow" prior to World War II but it was forgotten by the time you went to Philmont in 1947.

2) In 1949 Robert Schwab, the "young man" to whom Charlie Spitz referred and a friend took the ceremonies from Cowaw Lodge 9 where several Councils shared summer camp facilities.

3) In 1950 Robert and others founded Na Tsi Hi Lodge 71 which still operates. For many years we forgot where the name came from but knew it meant "In the Pines". Just before his death, our Museum Curator, David Wolverton, found out from some native Lenape and Cherokee speakers that the words were not Lenape but in fact Cherokee. I attended a reunion a couple years ago of the Sand Hill People who are local Monmouth County families of joint Lenape and Cherokee descent.

4) Some Lenape (Delaware) families never left New Jersey and can trace lineage to 1752 in NJ.

5) The Powhatan tribe has a non-treaty reservation in Burlington County and stages twice annually wonderful craft and Pow Wow events.

6) Na Tsi Hi Lodge and the six other OA Lodges in have Dance Teams and Ceremonial teams that utilize Lenape lore in presenting the three levels of "honors" to Scouts (who are elected by OA members and non-members alike in their troops) and present traditional Native American dances. 250 OA members from NJ and PA are traveling to Puerto Rico to participate in what is called a Section Conclave hosted by the BSA in Puerto Rico who do their ceremonies in Spanish and use Taino Indian culture (61% of Puerto Rico bloodline is Taino today) in August 2008.

7) Practitioners of Native American persuasion performed a special Medicine Wheel ceremony for many of David Wolverton's friends gathered in Pennsylvania for the 2007 OA Conclave a few weeks have David's passing. Very moving and tangible connection with the earth and David's spirit (see Shoshone Benny LeBeau's massive Medicine Wheel project of 5/8/2004 at ).

8) David's cousin also performed a special Native American dance taught her by tribal elders. The bond between her, David, the elders, the earth and those of us participating and observing was palpable.

9) My years of assisting young men dancing Native American dances in our home made "regalia" (Indian inspired fashions), mostly as a drummer, made me feel the "heartbeat" of the Nation as we described it to the Cub Packs for whom we danced, attempting to evoke the spirit of our Native American brothers. I have heard Native American's joke at Pow Wows "Not bad for hairy legged kids from Texas..."

10) BSA policy is that only non-religious representations be made by Scouts unless under the direct approval of a local Native American authority. This minimizes but not eliminates the chances of offending or intruding into one of the 216 recognized tribes in the United States. Just navigating the mess my ancestors made of their world is quite educational.

All of these things as Bill Pearce noted are what bond Scouts in particular and we believe eventually all people together for good. I look forward to this extended dialog.

Yours in Scouting,

David Crow

Family Story

I don't think that Cubmaster was lazy. He was just worn out trying to handle a large group of kids with more energy than he had.

Meanwhile, a bit about me and my family. My wife, Mary Ann, and I celebrated 50 years of marriage last August. We raised two sons, one a Downs Syndrome son named David and the other an Afro-American adopted son named Todd. We have one grandson Cyle, age 7 (Todd's son). He has been in Children's Hospital in Seattle for over 7 months with a rampant form of leukemia. Our children have been brought up members of the First Congregational Church here in Bellingham. Mary Ann is active in church affairs. I am not.

Four years ago in a function at the Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, I was presented with the "Crown of Peace" award for "demonstrated exceptional dedication to promoting reconciliation and unity beyond the boundaries of race, religion and culture toward a new era of peace for all humanity." The award was presented to me by the Interreligious and International Peace Council. The following morning at breakfast as members of the gathering were saying good bye speakers went to the microphone and commented on the proceedings the evening before when about 1,000 persons were assembled to honor the new "Ambassadors for Peace" from around the nation. The man at my right was the world-wide head of the Druze religion. Rev. Al Sharpton sat at my left. Finally I went up to the microphone and introduced myself. I said that I was in awe of the assembly of ministers, reverends, rabbis, priests, shamans, imans, and religious leaders from all religions and from all over the world. I then commented that I found that I accepted virtually every value expressed by all these religions leaders and appreciated being invited to join with them in that event even though I did not subscribe to any of their faiths. I told them my sense of the spiritual does not come in a box with a name, It has no scripture, no leadership hierarchy, no membership requirements, no dues. I told them that I loved them all and respected their diverse beliefs but most of all I appreciated that they had room for me whose sense of the spiritual has no name. I thanked them and sat down. A few moments later two women came across the room headed for me and I thought "Oh, no. Here come the Baptists to bring me into their box." How wrong I was. Those two ladies had been recognized for their work on behalf of marginalized youth in urban settings in America. They merely wanted to say "Thank you" for saying what they wanted to say but did not have the guts to do so.

By the way, one anecdote: I was recently asked to give the eulogy for an incredible woman who died at age 94. When I stood behind the pulpit I asked the assembled friends and relatives of the deceased to glance heavenward. There, I said, you will see Lorraine laughing mightily at this scene. She is probably saying "Many Ann could not get George to church. I not only got him to church, I got him behind the pulpit!" The congregation joined Lorraine in laughing at this scene.

Another thought...if you ever want a gathering to have a deeply significant and emotionally moving spiritual element to it call on our Native American friends. Their drums, their songs, their body language and their prayers touch the religious "button" in everyone who is witness to the event. I have been close to the spiritual leaders of the local Indian tribes for many, many years and have often called on them to participate in public ceremonies that I organize.



Will Follow Up

This is great and BSA still encourages the initiative (a Scout is Brave still) you exhibited throughout your live. I love the story about the lazy Cubmaster (a Scout is Thrifty still). That spirit moved BSA to end segration ahead of the curve and is helping our current Scouts learn from our more recent arrivals from other parts of the Americas.

Our NJSM Museum Curator Steve Buckley is traveling so I will track down the contacts you offered so we can pursue them before this priceless heritage is lost. Troop 59 is still very active. I am copying to Greg Shinn from that Troop who may be able to help me and Fred Pachman, the President of the New Jersey Scout Museum to get this project and you on our agenda for next meeting.

Thank you for sharing and for your contributions to our country and world.

Yours in Scouting,

David Crow

The Rebel

I've gotta warn ya that you are dealing with a rebel here, not your typical scout. I was thrown out of the cub scouts once and out of the Boy Scouts twice!

As I recall I entered the Cub Scouts in about 1939. My mother was a den mother and my younger brother and I entered the cubs but I do not recall my older brother being part of the pack. I will have to check some of the old photos to see if he is in any of them. Well, one Saturday the Cub Scout Pack went on a long (probably only five or six miles) hike to the South Orange Reservation. At that time the family lived in Irvington, New Jersey. It just so happened that almost every Saturday my mother would take the three of us boys on a long walk, often as far as the reservation, so this cub scout hike was no big deal for my brother and me. Well, as the day progressed the cub master got worn out and decided that we would all take the bus back to Irvington. I refused, saying that I did not have the nickel for the bus fare. The cub master said he would loan me the money but I still refused saying that I did not want to spend my money on the bus when I could walk home. Mind you, this was the depression when a nickel would buy you a loaf of bread and our family did not have that many nickels. Well, the cub master finally had enough of my stubbornness and yelled "Go ahead and walk home but don't bother coming back to the pack. You are out!" My mother had other ideas and after a confrontation with the cub master I was back in.

In 1941 the family moved to Manasquan, New Jersey and when old enough I joined Boy Scout Troop 59. It was in that troop that I went through the ranks up to Life Scout. I earned 35 merit badges, eventually became a patrol leader and finally Assistant Scoutmaster. Our troop often went camping on weekends at the Allaire Scout Camp. We would all gather on Friday afternoon at the scout cabin and load up the scoutmaster's truck and head off to the camp. Well at one troop meeting I made the suggestion that going by truck was not a good way to learn camping skills. I suggested that we meet at the troop cabin and then hike to the camp with all our gear on our backs. That way we would learn what was most important to take, what we could do without, how to plan for a longer trip, etc. I think I said something to the effect that this troop would take the truck to the bathroom if we could figure out how to get it up the hall way. As you can imagine, the scoutmaster got riled up at this and said that if I did not like the way he ran the troop I could go off I went and registered as a Lone Explorer Scout.

If you are looking for photos of scouting in Monmouth County back in the 1940's call Bill Gregory of Gregory and Son's Florist in Manasquan. (if he is still alive). He is the son of the former scoutmaster of Troop 59. When I visited Manasquan about five or six years (or more?) ago I stopped in to see him at the florist and he commented that he had a mass of old photos up in the attic that he inherited from his dad. He had been looking through some of them and found lots of photos of me in the pack. You might also contact Sherrill Clark, son of C.B. Clark, former Scout Commissioner for the Monmouth Council, BSA. i do not have any contact information for him. I am sure he must have lots of historical material. He retired from the military and lives somewhere near Seattle, Washington but, I seem to recall him telling me that he is still in contact with the Monmouth Council office so you might have his contact information somewhere. Furthermore he still remained connected with scouting whereas I never formally went back into the movement after my return from Korea although I did help local troops or scout districts from time to time in one capacity or another on a one-day or one event basis.

When I got my job in the Panama Canal Zone with the Inter-American Geodetic Survey (IAGS) I joined the Canal Zone boy scout troop which was made up of boys of US employees in the Canal Zone and of the U.S. military stationed there. I did not get to many meetings as I was constantly working back in the jungles and mountains. For example on one occasion I was taken up the Caribbean coast of Panama in an LCM [Landing Craft Medium] and dropped near the mouth of the Rio Donoso with about 1/2 ton of equipment and my Panamanian helper. I was told that I had four days to get to the top of a certain mountain, set up my lights and show them to crews on other mountains so they could measure the angles between the various peaks in that geodetic arc. I hired a crew of local natives to paddle me up the river in their dug out log and then chop the trail up the mountain to the top where I set up camp. It was the rule of the organization that the observer had to carry the 35 lb. theodolite and not let the natives carry it. On this trip I was not doing the observing but was only a light keeper. Later, when I was the observer, I had to carry the theodolite. It was good exercise!

Anyway, when back in the Canal Zone, if it was troop meeting night I would go. I got the boys interested in going on a jungle trip with me 'back in the bush.' At first the scoutmaster approved of the idea but I guess some of the parents got wind of it and when the kids told them about boa constrictors, coral snakes, tarantulas and other things to look out for they got the scoutmaster to nix the idea. So instead the kids went camping on an army base where our troops set up the tents for the boys, an army cook did the cooking and the scouts hiked on improved roads cut in the jungle and not on native trails. They even had a real American Indian, complete with an eagle feather headdress, imported from the U.S. to add color to the event, tell stories and show Indian dances. There was no need for the kids to go on trails in the jungle with members of the local tribes. I was shocked! But, of course, that was also the time when the US authorities in the Canal Zone had separate toilets for US citizens and for Panamians... institutional racism at it's worst. But before we throw stones we should also remember that in those days Monmouth Council had racially segregated troops. The Blacks (colored kids we called them) had their own troops and did not join white troops. Do any of you guys remember those days? I was asked if I would be willing to serve as Assistant Scoutmaster of a struggling Black troop in Brielle but my dad said he would kill those n*&$%#! if I ever brought one of them around the house. Ah, yes, good old White Christian Boy Scouts. Things have changed somewhat, haven't they? Or maybe they haven't. You don't have any racially segregated troops any more do you?

Back to the Canal Zone scout troop. When I decided to quit my job and go back to New Jersey to start school at Rutgers University I made the decision to go back in time to attend the 1950 Boy Scout Jamboree. I contacted the scoutmaster in Balboa, CZ, and asked him to register me as a member of the Canal Zone contingent. I was then working in the mountains between Guatemala City and the Peten jungle. I was informed that I was no longer considered a member of that scout troop, that I was gone too much of the time. So I was out of scouting again. I then wrote to Art McKinney, International Commissioner of the BSA, and asked if I could attend the jamboree as a Lone Scout since that was the status I had when I left for South America with my bicycle a year and a half earlier. He refused me permission to attend the jamboree since I was no longer affiliated with any scout troop and had not yet registered as a Lone Scout with any scout district office. As I noted in a previous letter, I went anyway and snuk in as a 'wetback' [an illegal immigrant from south of the border].

Since I have been chattering here about my working with the IAGS I might as well tell you how scouting got me that job. My bike broke down in Guatemala in about March of 1948 so I sold it and continued on my way by car, bus, truck and airplane. I finally arrived in David, Panama [near the border with Costa Rica] with thirteen dollars left in my pocket. I was hitch-hiking my way to the Canal Zone where I hoped to get a job when I was picked up by an American army officer in a jeep. He asked where I was going, what I was doing, etc. When he found out that I had been camping, exploring caves [spelunking] and mountain climbing with Boy Scouts in various countries he asked if I knew any trigonometry. I told him I got an "A" in the subject in High School. He thereupon offered me a job with the Inter-American Geodetic Survey as a light keeper, hopping from one mountain top to another all across Panama. He explained that the IAGS was hiring graduate engineers from Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Rutgers and other schools but after two weeks on the job the guys would head back for the safety and security of the 'States. They had engineering skills but lacked outdoor living skills. He felt that given my camping and outdoor living skills that I would have no trouble going back into the bush by horseback, log canoes or foot, climbing the appointed mountain and being isolated on mountain tops for a week or two at a time. He assured me that I would soon learn enough engineering skills to move up the ladder in the organization. Which I did.

When I left the organization I was then 19 years old and Chief of Party for surveying the first order triangulation arc from Guatemala City to the Peten jungle north of Coban. Often times I would have a crew of ten to twenty Mayan Indians working for me, clearing the lines of sight so the observer with the theodolite could "see" the other peaks in the arc. On occasion, if I needed manual labor and the local natives were working their fields, the local alcalde (mayor) would empty the jail of all prisoners and hire them out to me.

On one occasion a group of 20 or so Mayan Indians I had working for me went on strike. I was paying them 25 cents a day for their labor and they wanted 50 cents. Well, since a quart bottle of beer was worth 25 cents I had no problem paying them the price of two bottles of beer for a day's labor. That pay lasted only two days when a Guatemalan soldier came to where I was working and told me the Governor of the province wanted to see me. I went with him to the provincial capital where the Governor informed me that the prevailing wage for day labor was 25 cents a day and that I would pay it or leave the area. He did not add 'alive' but I knew what he meant. The local hacendados and coffee plantation owners called it 'economic stability' to produce an export crop for the international market. I called it 'economic slavery.' But they had the guns and not the Indians. The wage was put back down to 25 cents a day and the governor provided me with an armed guard to make sure the natives continued working and did not give me any trouble. I wonder what kind of a merit badge would have prepared me for that experience?

,nuf for now.

George F. Drake

Possibly SPAM filter problems


Thanks for your message. Rutgers uses very aggressive SPAM filters, so Isuspect that your earlier messages were discarded automatically and I nevereven saw them.
The spam scores for your current message were sufficient to block the message.

In any event, thanks again for your message. We are VERY interested inworking with you in any way possible.

I've got to run to a scouting meeting right now, but will repond in more detail when I have a few minutes.

- Don
Don Schaffner, Ph.D.
Battleground District Chairman
Na Tsi Hi Web Page Adviser
Troop 18

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Response from Pearce

I grew up as a Scout with Larry Heppa, from Troop 31 in Spring Lake. T 31 and my Troop 69 went everywhere together. (adjacent towns)

I believe he was an adult leader in 1950 at Valley Forge. I could be wrong, because he was also at the 1957 asnd 1960 Jamborees. I was too young for them.

He was my Scoutmaster at the 1964 Jamboree at Valley Forge.

I am sure you will hear from Steve Buckley.

He and I were Philmont 1966.

He is also curator of our NJ Scout Museum. Which is bursting at the seams with memoribila, but nothing as seemingly as broad and rich as yours.

Personally I have not had the opportunity to take Scouting as broadly as you. But I have wonderful friends in many places, because we share Scouting. Regardless of rank.

I believe in my heart, that I have a friend anywhere in the world, once I find a Scout. Language and customs are impediments, but Scouting is the universal bond.

Bill Pearce

Reponse to Spitz

In 1960 I was a 30-year-old high school teacher in Pacific Grove, California. I did not attend any more BSA jamborees after the 1950 event.

I don't remember Bob Schwab by name but have good photos of some of the guys from Monmouth Council who were there. when I can get to it I will send you a scan of the photos.

I won't get to it for a while though as I am currently hosting a delegation of 15 Japanese visitors. On Friday they will be at my house for lunch so I have to clean up the garden.... which is a 1-acre North West Japanese garden with the stone water fall, dry stone pond, wet pond garden, moss garden, etc. Best of all is the 'borrowed scenery' [shakei] where, when standing on the deck off our living room, one looks over the dry pond garden and the pruned row of cedar trees to look at the lake beyond. The dry pond in the near distance replicates the real lake in the far distance. Even this late in the season we have azaleas from Japan blooming, the Nakahari tsutsugi. When the PRC first opened after Nixon's visit I imported the first ever collection of hybrid azaleas from the Peoples Republic of China and traded cuttings from them for hybrids from many growers in several countries. I am still owed over 2,000 varieties of azaleas by growers/hybridizers in the US. But I no longer am involved in that activity.


Spitz connection

Let me add a couple of cents to this discussion.

1. I do not remember ever meeting George Drake, but that does not mean that did not happen since I have some of the longest tenure in MCBSA of those receiving this email. But not nearly the 70 years that George has.

2. I say the above because I was a 15 year old Star Scout when I attended the 1960 National Jamboree, and it is possible that we met there.

3. Robert Schwab, the first lodge chief of Na Tsi Hi attended the 1950 National Jamboree, so the question is does George know Bob Schwab?


Have a great day!

Charles A. Spitz, AIA, NCARB, CSI, PP
Architect-Planner-Code Consultant
Monmouth Council Commodore Sea Scouts

Scout Executive Response


It's great to hear from a Scouter with your history and accomplishments! I'm not sure what happened to your previous e-mails, but this is the first one that I have seen......I would like to meet with you and introduce myself and learn more about your Scouting background. Are you now in Monmouth County? Also I know the folks from the New Jersey Scouting Museum, housed here at the Scout Service Center, would most likely be interested in your Philmont material. I am also copying several of our Executive Board members on this e-mail who would be interested in your Scouting background and story. Thank you for sending this e-mail and I look forward to talking with you.

Lee A. Marconi
Scout Executive
Monmouth Council, Boy Scouts of America

First Contact

I noted on the Monmouth Council BSA website that the first Philmont trek was in 1947. I was a member of that group which was actually in 1946 and have lots of photos of it and also my diary. Is any one interested in that material? I know where there are stacks of historical photos and other material on scouting in Monmouth County.

Over the last several years I have sent at least three, possibly more, e-mails trying to make contact with somebody in the council office but the only response I get is invitations in the mail to come to some Eagle Scout ceremony.

I was a Life Scout with 35 Merit Badges but never passed the swimming requirement as I sank like a rock and did not learn to swim until I returned from service in the Korean War and was a student at the UC at Berkeley in 1955.

I didn't make Eagle but I did make Ph.D., served in the US Foreign Service, speak Chinese Mandarin and Spanish, have been named 'Honorary Citizen' in Manizales, Colombia for my work with the marginal populations of that city and also given the 'Keys of the City in Gold' along with the Honorary Citizen title, the first time such was ever given to a foreigner. By the way, while in Manizales I hosted a reception for Lady Baden-Powell. The Mayor of the Metropolitan City of Gwangju (population 1.4 million) in South Korea presented me with the title of 'Honorary Citizen' (number 24) and an impressive gold medal for my work during the Korean War for the orphans. I have been referred to in the Korean press as 'Godfather of Korean Orphans.' My web site on that topic has over 1,500 pages of stories and photographs. <> . The center for the preservation of indigenous populations of Peru has honored me for my work with the native populations of the world (mostly in Latin America). I was named 'Outstanding Citizen of the Year' in my home town (for the last 40 years), Bellingham, Washington. My resume of civic and community service activities takes 35 pages to list!

I am writing my book "70 years of Scouting" so it will be ready for the 100th anniversary of scouting. I'll mention the Monmouth Council, BSA and, if the council shows any interest in what happened to a former scout from their district I will share copies of all the material used in preparing the book.

By the way, while working in Guatemala in 1950 with the Inter-American Geodetic Survey (climbing mountains and trekking through the jungles as a true scout would love to do) I took several days vacation time and flew to Mexico City to take my College Entrance Exams for admission to Rutgers University. I left the job with the IAGS to return to the U.S. in time to attend the 1950 National Jamboree at Valley Forge but the Korean War broke out so I never did enroll at Rutgers. I attended the jamboree as an 'illegal immigrant' as I was not a member of a registered contingent. I stayed with my former scout troop from Monmouth Council but Art McKinney, International Commissioner of the BSA saw me at the international camp site and ordered me off the premises. Just then the Chief Scouts of Mexico and Guatemala appeared and, ignoring Art McKinney, came over to give me an embrace. In Spanish I told them my problem and the Chief of Guatemalan scouts told McKinner "Drake is an Honorary member of the Boy Scouts of Guatemala and is here as a member of our contingent". McKinney was pissed and scolded me for breaking rules but he ultimately bit his tongue and left me alone. Years later I got my BA and MA at UC - Berkeley and the Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I retired as Director of the Office of International Programs at Western Washington University in 1990. While there I also served as Professor of Sociology, Chair of the Center for East Asian Studies and for a number of years served as Special Assistant to the President for International Programs. Recently I served for a stint as Research Director for the US National Korean War Museum now being built in Springfield, Illinois.

Scouts are supposed to be physically fit and I try to keep that ethos in mind as I ride thousands of miles on my bicycle each year. My plan is to ride at the National Senior Games in 2010 as an 80 year old. My strategy to win a bicycle race is to out-live the competition. I can recall the suffering I endured on the 50 mile ride to earn the Cycling merit badge. Now, from time to time, I ride 50 or more miles before lunch on Sundays. My bike back then weighed at least 35 lbs, I am sure. Now my titanium steed weighs half that. Oh, I should mention that in December of 1948 I left New Jersey with a new 3-speed bicycle and with a letter of introduction from the Boy Scouts of America I headed for South America. I visited scout groups in Mexico and all countries in Central America. As I note above I returned from that trip in June of 1950.

'nuf for now. I'll send this out in cyberspace and see if it lands anywhere. Do let me know if you want that Philmont Scout Ranch stuff from Wagon Train #-7.

Yours in scouting,
George F. Drake