Tuesday

the old home away from home





I first walked into the Scout Office at St. Matthias in 1981 as a 7 year old Cub Scout. This past week I may have walked out of it for the last time. It was sad. But my son was there and he got to see the basement where until this past week Troop 327 stored its gear.

The building we were told was in the process of being sold and we were being given a new storage space down the block. Accidentally we found out that it had been sold and spent a Friday meeting cleaning out the basement. With four adults, 6 Boy Scouts and a Tiger Cub, we made pretty quick work of it. And our new space is not ideal but it will work and it's still tidy (at least for right now).

For the past several years we were just using the basement of the corner building on Woodward and Catalpa, and we had most of our meetings in the school itself. We had grown too large for that room to be an effective place to have meetings. But as we cleaned I remembered a lot of good times in that building.

Lively junior leader meetings after scout Sunday, when an adult voice was never heard. Building a robot that "marched" with us in the Memorial Day parade. As a staging area for massive Scouting for Food Drives. Hanging out with the other junior leaders in the back room while Mr. Dowd took the little kids on his famous leaf identification hike around the block. 

The place that was a staging area for camping trips all over the tri-state area, for trips to Washington DC, Boston, Gettysburg and beyond. Was not ours anymore. The place where a future naval officer and future army national guard recruiter would go crashing through the plate glass window as we were packing to go to the University of Connecticut. That place is still there, but its only ours in our memories.

As we cleared, me and our current scoutmaster reminisced in vague terms about being scouts in that building. The thoughts of the time when we were senior enough to be the crew gathering the equipment out of the basement before camping. We moved some of our artifacts, the giant sign said Troop 327 and has an image of a lone scout starting a small fire at a campsite in the shadows of an idyllic mountain. And of course our Worlds Fair totem pole, which one day will become part of a collection of Boy Scout memorabilia.

That room was home every Friday night for years and years. And now it will be something else. Might it be an artisan mayonnaise place? Or another coffee shop? Who knows, but it won't be the scout office anymore, it won't be home.

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