MY MEMORIES OF CUBS.
One of the most misleading mottos I ever read was “Being A Scout Is Fun.” Well, if that’s what you like, maybe, but I say, “Being a Cub Scout was HELL.” About the only thing I liked was cooking dinner for the family one night to earn my cooking badge.
One night, I remember, the Scout Den had a large park behind it, with tall trees and grassy mounds at different points. I was sent up to the store room in the den to get a ball, and there was a young man, who could have been a late teenager, or in his early 20s, who, as I went up to the den, yelled out, “I’m gonna get you! I’m gonna get you!” I can still see the yellow sweater that he was wearing, and he had dark hair and piercing eyes. He had two young women with him. Now, I knew about stranger danger and I was terrified!
My other memories were of cold winter nights having to wear SHORTS, yes, SHORTS, and having to take our shoes and socks off to do activities. One night, I remember we were doing skipping with two leaders who were twirling two ropes and whenever I jumped the top rope hit me in the head and it hurt. I couldn’t get my co-ordination right and there was no concern expressed by the leaders that I had the sting of contact with rope against my head. I remember my feet felt like blocks of ice.
I also remember a boy a leader said always had his uniform clean and pressed every week (I did, too, but it wasn’t noticed) looked at me with piercing eyes and said, “No one likes you.” I didn’t care, as I didn’t like many of the boys I went to cubs with, but it wasn’t nice and I don’t know that it was true. But what this boy didn’t know was, a few months earlier, he’d fallen off a horse and hurt his ribs and I signed his Get Well card.
Another thing I remember was, the hypocrisy of some of the boys. I remember a boy with a broken leg and the leader had to remind another boy to give him a chair. A few weeks later, I remember a leader saying that some of us would feel a swish through the air and it would be his hand “across the behinds of some of you boys.” He then, for whatever reason I don’t know, once the boy’s leg was out of plaster, picked him up by the shirt and arms. As far as I knew, scout leaders were not supposed to touch any of us, other than to administer First Aid if we were injured, and scout leaders weren’t authorized to physically discipline scouts!
My parents thought they were doing the right thing, but it was actually a form of unofficial ABA. They now acknowledge the hurt it caused me, which brings me some peace.