Troop 3, Perth Amboy
Meetings every Friday Night at 6pm in the Shull school gym/auditorium. Most of the members (we usually didn’t call ourselves scouts), were from our Budapest neighborhood. This crew included Byrd, Taffy, Bra,(or “Breeze” around his mother) and others, and we basically controlled the troop environment.. Few of us took the boy scouts code and culture all that seriously. All we really wanted to do is get out of the neighborhood and go camping in the woods. Our interests in merit badges, dopey uniforms and parade marches were rather limited.
Each Friday night we had our little scout meeting, learned some scouty things like tying knots, and then the good part. For the remaining time we had a full blast game of up-against-the-wall dodge ball. The game was played with three balls so you had to keep moving in three possible different directions in order to survive. It could be brutal, and recalling the game now, it seems like a somewhat hostile endeavor. At 12 it seemed normal and great fun. Or nobody told us it wasn’t. A chance to dodge bomb your buddies or get dodge bombed by your buddies. Perhaps the biggest kick was that we had the entire Shull school gym to ourselves every Friday night. Budapest Rules! Afterwards a stop for a milkshake at the luncheonette counter at Amboy and Hall. Then a walk through the dark and scary snake path which was next to Alpine cemetery, in order to get home in time to catch the Twilight Zone on TV.
Fridays nights for a 12 year old: Boy Scouts, dodge ball, milk shake, snake path, and then the Twilight Zone. Right Arm
“Right arm” being the local mocking and satirical deviation of the phrase “right on”, like “right arm brother”.
Troop 3 had their own little camping spot in Rocky Hill, between the Delaware-Raritan Canal and the Millstone River. It was off the main road into this tiny town and was located behind an old canal keeper’s building. An old lady, Mrs. French, lived in (what seemed to us) like an ancient house. She would give us fresh well water and invited us into this very rustic abode. We were rather amazed at the interior. Everything in there, including Mrs. French, seemed to be like maybe 100 years old, if not more. She looked and acted a bit like granny from the Beverly Hillbillies. But she was nice old lady and liked company.
Our troop had one tent. A very large one. It was like a circus tent. It took the effort of the entire troop to assemble and raise it and when it was up it could accommodate up to 12 guys and gear. And at times it really was a circus in there. Our great scout leader, Mr. Ollie, would have a number of beers, fall asleep by 9, and we were on our own for the rest of the night. Snake hunting, campfires, swimming, cigarette smoking, whatever. When we finally bedded down, there would always be someone, most likely Taffy, who refused to go to sleep and took delight in keeping the rest us up half the night. He would interrupt the silence with a stupid joke or better yet, farts or fart like sounds, which would then elicit more fart sounds from other sleeping bags and the resulting hilarity would make sleep impossible.
Add fart sounds to that 12 year old’s list.
Back home go to Camp Cowaw