For most summers during the reign of head cook Pearl Schleicher (1962-1994), menus did not change dramatically. Sunday nights were ham and rolls, one lunch was hamburgers and another hot dogs.
Thursday morning was cantelope and doughnuts. While most mornings were scrambled eggs and either sausage or bacon, Thursday gave everyone a break. From the cooks to the kitchen staff to the Scouts, Thursday was a break from the norm.
Here is the interior serving line at Stahlman sometime in the 1980s. You can see the cantaloupe and the staff member in the background is serving a doughnut onto the tray. The aluminum foil cover bowl? It’s actually cup containing grape juice, possibly partly still frozen. And it looks like single-serve cereal was on the menu that day as well, judging by the tray in the foreground.
Sometimes, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Sunday Check-in is one of thsoe events. While every now and then, someone comes along to ‘crack the code’ of making check in smoother, big chunks of the experience remain the same.
Robert Ponder was a Parnell Staff member in the mid-1970s. Like many of you, in the years since Boxwell, Robert has dabbled with memoirs, writing down aspects of his camp or Scouting experience. He shared some of these with us and we thoughts we would pass along what he had to say about the check-in experience during his time at Boxwell. Some of this might sound familiar…
“Week-long camp at Boxwell Reservation was ritualistic: as regular as “Old Faithful’,” Ponder writes. “The process was easy. Each Sunday afternoon, parents brought their boys to camp (a sea of mayhem as 250 boys and their families descended at the same time). Gear was unloaded from the cars, piled up by campsites (mine was campsite 11-Saskatchewan), and relocated to the center of the campsite by flatbed trailer. While that was being done, campers and their parents walked down to the campsites to make tent selections. Most of the time, you knew who you were going to share the two-man tent with before you arrived. The only real question was which of the tents you were going to get. The older boys, of course, got the tents furthest from the Scoutmasters.”
“At this point, some of the parents would say good-bye,” Ponder continues. Other parents, in particular those who were having difficulty parting with their sons, would hang around for the health check and swim test. After the swim tests (necessary for determining the abilities of each of the campers), any straggling parents were asked to leave. The scouts and scoutmasters were finally on their own.”
See this photo from Camp Craig in 2009. Are things all that different?
As we have mentioned before, most of our “archives” is made up of Boxwell related material, but some of the material is related to the Council and Scouting in general. Depending on who the person the collection came from, there can be some real jewels. There can also be some smaller, simpler, more human pieces.
In 1944, a boy in Springfield, TN found an empty sack of money ($60!) and returned the sack to the bank. Likely a deposit bag, the bank’s name was printed on the side. The bank was then able to return the money and, in a nice twist, the Tennessean ran an article about it.
What the article did not say was that the boy was a Scout. It appears his Scoutmaster was none other than Beany Elam!
But the best part of the story–and our document this week–is that the Scout Executive himself, William J. Anderson, wrote the Scout a personal letter. Anderson praised the boy for doing the right thing and “exactly as I expected you would do.” For Anderson, “a Boy Scout could take no other course.”
Anderson ends with a simple post-script: “I hope to see you at camp Boxwell.” The whole scenario is Scouting at its best.