This striking photo of Eagle Scouts Richard Brown (left) and Grover Haynes, Jr. prompted us to ask Grover to share his memories of Scouting in Cliffside.
As far as I can recall, the photo was made at the time of, or soon after, the Eagle Scout awards were given on January 13, 1940 when I would have been about 15 and a half.
I think Richard and I were the only ones making Eagle Scout at that time. He was a year or two ahead of me in High School, so he was probably 16 to 17 at that time.
I don’t recall the details of the cabin being built, though I do remember it as “new” in the early years of my Scouting. I think the old school house was gone at that time.
Your asking these questions has caused me to dig through some old “memento” boxes and finding my old Scouting memento’s. As I write this I am looking at the Scout “sash” that you see in the picture, as well as the official certificate cards for attaining Star, Life and Eagle Scout and 32 merit badge certificates. I attained Star Scout on December 1, 1938 (shortly after the Cabin was dedicated), Life Scout on July 7, 1939 and Eagle Scout on January 13, 1940, all three signed by Rudolph (Bud) Schiele, who was the “Scout Executive.”
The 32 Merit Badges run from “Swimming” on 8/5/38 to “Automobiling” on 8/22/41, listed as follows: Swimming, Canoeing, Bookbinding, Basketry, Wood Work, Handicraft, First Aid, Personal Health, Safety, Carpentry, Pathfinding, Machinery, Public Health, Firemanship, Electricity, Wood Turning, Metal Work, First Aid to Animals, Life Saving, Athletics, Pioneering, Bird Study, Reptile Study, Camping, Cooking, Civics, Rowing, Marksmanship, Pottery, Leathercraft, Forestry, and Automobiling.
My “sash” also holds three marksmanship medals: Marksman First Class, Pro-Marksman and Sharpshooter from the Junior Division of the National Rifle Association.
I also found a framed, signed letter from James E. West, Chief Scout Executive of the BSA, dated January 13, 1940, congratulating me for achieving the Eagle Scout status. I assume that my mother framed it. At the top of the letter is a list of the National Officers of the BSA: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Honorary President; Herbert Hoover, Honorary Vice President; and Theodore Roosevelt (Jr.), Vice President, Oyster Bay, NY.
The only Scoutmaster that I can recall that had a strong impression on me is Gerard Davidson. I attribute a lot of my love for God and Country to his influence. The many overnight camping trips under his watch taught me self reliance, personal responsibility and innovation. I believe his influence also helped me go from Apprentice Seaman to 1st Class Petty Officer in my first 21 months in the Navy. Myself excluded, the Boy Scout’s build “Character.”
I spent a few weeks each for three summers at the Schiele Boy Scout Camp at Lake Lanier near Tryon. Other than having a good time and enjoying the fellowship and independence, the only thing that really sticks in my memory is that on one occasion several of us killed a rattlesnake, skinned it, fried the meat and ate it.
Photograph courtesy Hazel Haynes Bridges