A drawing that I made of my remembrance of the old Beaver Patrol’s prestigious clubhouse.
The Old Beaver Patrol Clubhouse
By Richard Mabey Jr.
This is a CONDENSED excerpt of one of the chapters of my upcoming novel. This is a FICTIONAL PIECE. If you happen to recognize yourself, it’s only a coincidence.
September of 1966 was a very special moment in time for me. I turned 13, began the eighth grade and became the new Patrol Leader of the illustrious Beaver Patrol of Boy Scout Troop 170. The old Beaver Patrol, under my regime, consisted of six scouts. They were Assistant Patrol Leader Scratchy MacDougal; the O’Reilly brothers, Jack and Patrick; Elmo Petrowski, Stu Stanfield and myself.
The first thing on the agenda for me, in my new honored position of being Patrol Leader, was to see that the grand old Beaver Patrol had a most proper and prestigious place to meet. It was decided unanimously, by all the members of the Beaver Patrol, that we should all build a clubhouse as a place to meet and hold Patrol Meetings. Then, there was the question of where to build our clubhouse.
We had held the first meeting of the Beaver Patrol beneath the old maple tree, in the yard of the old Mabey Homestead. We all gathered round the picnic table and discussed the important matter at hand, namely where to build our clubhouse. Well, it was Scratchy MacDougal who first suggested that we build our clubhouse at far corner of Earl’s Meadow, in the area at the borderline of the woods.
Well, it was no easy undertaking to say the least. It took all of September and October to build our wonderful Beaver Patrol Clubhouse. We would meet every Saturday morning from nine o’clock till high noon. Then, we would all break for lunch. My mom would provide peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, red punch Kool-Aid and an apple for all of us. I remember that we would eat our lunch at the old picnic table.
After lunch, we would go back to working on building the clubhouse till about three in the afternoon. It was hard work, but in the end it was worth all the time and effort that we put into it.
Aside from having a front door and a front window, there was a window on each side of our clubhouse, as well as one window in the back wall of our clubhouse. I have to confess that we did get quite a bit of help from my dad when it came to putting in the door and the windows. Still, the entire Beaver Patrol contributed greatly to completing this wonderful masterpiece.
The old clubhouse survived the winds of fall, the snowfalls of winter, the rains of spring and the sweltering heat of summer. It was a rugged old clubhouse.
Somehow and someway, it survived till about the time of the early 1970’s. It was in such a sorrowful state, that it was obviously evident that it was time to say goodbye to the old Beaver Patrol Clubhouse.
I am almost positive that it was in the summer of 1971, right after I had graduated from high school, that my dad and I took the old clubhouse down. It only took us a day to dismantle it. It was a sad day. I took some black and white photographs of it, before Dad and I took it apart.
In looking back, I realize now how much I learned from having the golden opportunity to serve as the Patrol Leader of the old Beaver Patrol. I learned leadership skills, first hand. It gave me a sense of confidence in myself. It gave me the chance to grow in my scouting knowledge; for when I would teach the younger scouts scout skills, it would reinforce the basic principles for myself.
Sometimes, in memory, I return to the old Beaver Patrol Clubhouse. The squeaky door, the old wooden table inside, the little bookshelf that held scout handbooks, merit badge pamphlets and copies of Boys’ Life magazine. The windows looking out to the woods. The echo of the voices of my fellow scouts; the joy, the laughter. The spirit of “all for one and one for all.” The long debates of who was the cutest girl in all of Chapel Hill School.
Sadly, all of it is now gone. It was truly the days of innocence. Gone. Never to return. Alas, except in the recess of sacred memory and heart-held cherished reminisces.