I joined a local scout troop, with a standard uniform of,a green beret,green shirt, neckerchief and long pants that were generaly jeans or school pants. I must stress that locally
(unlike most of England), pants is mostly used rather than trousers, because during the war, many
Amercan troops were deploied here and many American expresions and sayings were and still are used used.
I was brought up with the pants rather than trousers, saying,
with many other American English words mixed in.
I was invited to a Scout camp which was having a Cub family event. My little brother was a Cub and was all excited about the camp.
The Scout pack leader and his wife (akala) asked my
mother, father, and myself if we would like to join them on a camp. He did not explain to me that I had a formal
role to play. I was invited as a Cub Scout leader for a section of the Cub Scout pack. This wasn't a formal role, but the idea was that we older Scouts would set an example of leadership. There were three other Boy Scouts, with their families, invited along with me. As I had no idea that this role was a responsabilty, I did not bring my Scout uniform. I just assumed that because it wasn't a Scout camp, my uniform wasn't needed. Our troop was rather informal about uniform anyway.
All the Cubs were divided into four sections with one scout
to lead each section of Cubs.
We camped together with our families in seperate tents with
the Cub scouts. The Cubs camped togrther as did each family. Us four Boy Scoutd had our own separate tent.
It wasn't untill the following morning when my misunderstandings became apparet. The Scout leader asked me and the other three Boy Scouts to get up and ready for parade. "PARADE?" I said to myself--realizing that it meant a uniformed event. The other Scouts put on their uniforms,which they had brought. This kind of left me feelin rather iresponsible, especially when I emerged in jeans when the other Scouts were in full uniform. We left the tent to assemble around the flag.
The scout pack leader quickly pulled
me to one side as soon as he saw me in jeans. I did stand out like a sore thumb in a sea of uniformed Cubs and Scouts. He asked where my uniform was. My failure to bring a uniform was clearly not his idea about leadership by example. I explained to him rather embarassed what the
situation was. He was no the least interested in my excuses.
To my shock I was informed by a rather disgusted Cub pack leader that I needed my uniform. There was to be a parade in the morning and I needed my uniform for it. He let the matter drop for momment, as my problem was holding up the morning parade.
The Scout leader running the Cub camp was in fact the scout pack (troop) leader. As his wife was the Cub Akala,
he was most involved with the Cubs. We had a Scout leader, just for the Scouts who was under the Scout pack leader. (This is a bit complicated, I hope you can understand it.) The Scout pack leader generally called the shots and was a bit of a stickler for smartness. Our Scout leader
produced a rather shabby looking Scout troop as we generally were not very smart on the meetings. We generally
wore jeans, trainers (sneakers), with a few non-uniform parts as well, however, on those few parades each year he
insisted on a full uniform.
The subject of a uniform for parade was not mentione again
that first day of camp. It wasn't untill the following morning that the subject to my surprise came up again. The Scout leader came to our tent early in the morning before parade and gave me the Cub uniform to put on. I was rather taken aback by it.
My stomach dropped as the suggestion that I should wear the sort pants Cub scout uniform he had brought with him. He was such a sticlker for proper uniform that he always brought many spare uniform parts with him--in case Cubs didn't show up in full kit. As you probably know, the uniforms of the two different groups, Cubs and Scouts, were quite different. The official Cub uniform still consisted of short pants and kneesocks while we Scouts always wore longs--even during the summer and at camp.
He explained that a uniform was requird for parade and that as I had negligently forgotten my uniform, any official Scout uniform would do. He was such a stickler for smartness that he was not about to have jeans at a formal parade. I protested, but ther was no disuading him as he explained how iresponsible I had been in not bringing my own uniform. I couldn't really argue with that. There didn't seem time to hold an objection although I probably did. I don't remember a lengthy discssion about it as I had a rather strick upbringing and usually did what I was told.
I felt a distinct sickness in my stomach during that first morning as I dressed in that
Cub uniform with all the fine trimmings of cap, short pants,
kneesocks and garter tabs. I'm only glad I had my shoes as he might have made me wear sandals like many Cubs.
I not only
felt young, but I looked very juvenile as well. This was an amusment to my father who I remember having a smile to the
side of his face. The worst was my older sister who was making a mockery of the situation. She was the one who
prepared me for my first date only a few months beforehand, with taking a motherly/sisterly attitude
to my upbringing she was most amused as I stood in front of the Union Jack [British flag] in a juvenile Cub Scout uniform.
The grey short pants (trousers) were the most embarassing aspect
of the uniform. I had not worn short pants for about 2
years. After all I was 13 years old and here I was in a
little boy's Cub Scout uniform.
The other cubs didn't pass comment on my uniform, I supose
because they were wearing one as well. I guess I was just one of
the boys--although it was made clear to them what my role was. Only one boy made a few comments. I felt what
right did he have to make mockery as he was in the same uniform as me, especially when he was a big lad and was
about the same height as myself anyway. His comments led to a bit of mockery from the other Cubs.
The first morning seemed to be the worst day of mockery. After that first day things seem to settle down although wearing that uniform seemed to last for ever. However,
it was only for 20 minutes in the morning, although there
was a parade each morning for the entire week. That first day was the worst, but it was still a daily embarassment all week.
My father wanted me to be in short trousers period. I only know this from a few things overheard on a previous occation, whist eavesdropping on a conversation between my parents. My father thought I should wear shorts. I was extatic to hear my mother object "just because you wore short trousers untill you were thirteen, doesn't mean Steve has to." It was like the voice of an angel!
So to see me in shorts again kind of amused him as he had lost that battle with my mother a couple of years earlier. My mother didn't pass comment to me, but I would bet my parents probably discussed it in thier own tent at some point. My
sister made fun for a few days and dragged it up for a few weeks later but then let it go. During later years that was never brought up and still to this day it has never been brought up, but it was an expereince that will never forget.
The three other scouts at camp laughed at me in my Cub uniform. They were amused for the first couple of days, but one of the boys in aparticular knew how i felt. Earlier that
year at a Scout meeting, we were playing around in the scout hut and he tore a hole in his pants. The other Scouts spent the
rest of the evening making the hole bigger to his amusment he helped them untill his trousers were in tatters. This
was a big mistake as his mother was the Cubs Akala.
The next meeting he arrived in short grey trousers. His mother was teaching him a lesson about taking care of his clothes. He
he spent the evening being made a mockery of.
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