Wednesday, July 23, 2008

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

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