About Scouts and Cubs : part 1 The Camp by thadeusz
This story is a fictional story, but it is based on true facts, and most of the dark and true events are simply the result of the fact that the main character did not respect an obligation he had freely accepted. This is only part one of the story. Luckily at the end of part 2 ...
My name is Matthew, Matthew Saunders to be precise.
When this story started, I was just 15 years old and I was ready to start my 10th grade despite a not very serious 9th grade. My little brother, Simon, was nearly 13, ready to start his 8th grade. He was a Cub Scout since nearly two years. He liked it so much and described it that well at home that during the year that just ended, I asked my father the permission to join the Scouts. At home, it was nearly always Father who decided and he was rather severe. Our parents were very strict : we always addressed them as "Father” and "Mother”, never using another, and maybe kinder, word to name them. So, I tried to escape their authority with some of my friends.
When I asked Father his permission to become a scout, he seemed pleased : "Son, I have also been a scout. I even became an Eagle scout during my 12th grade. I hope that joining the scouts will help you to be more disciplined and to get the self-discipline you badly need”. So Father gave me his consent but did not choose a specific Scout unit for me. I joined the unit where my school friends were. We had lots of fun but very little discipline. This included a certain lack of respect for our Scout uniform. Simon had joined a more serious group, where they also had fun but where the discipline was very strict and the respect for the Cub Scout uniform was great !
To complete the family description, I will mention that I also had (and still have) a big sister, Ann. She was aged 18 at the onset of this story. She was helping a lot Mother to take care of the "boys” and it was important because Mother had been seriously ill. It was Ann who convinced Father, at the start of my 9th grade, that since I was now going to high school and was thus with "big boys”, I should be allowed to wear long trousers and no longer short pants like Simon. She also had another argument : "as Scout, Matthew will have to wear trousers, they are part of his new uniform”. Wearing trousers was great for my first "dates”. Ann also convinced Father that he should allow me to choose myself my haircut. Father accepted, provided I remained clean : I chose to have long hair like my friends at school.
I must admit that I was so pleased with my trousers, as well for the Scouts uniform as during school hours and so pleased with the new friends I met, that I did not study very seriously during this 9th grade : I was very busy showing off to the girls I came across. But I did not consider this lack of seriousness in my studies as very important since I had anyway been admitted into the 10th grade, with all my friends, whether they were good students or not : our school was very cool !
It had been decided that during the very first week of the school holidays, Simon was going to attend a big Cub Scouts camp. The organizer, called Akela, was one of my father's close friends. I believe that is why he invited me to attend this camp as Scout leader assistant in order to guide a small group of Cub Scouts. I did not really feel like going: I told Father that I had rather hoped to be allowed to go to a small camp with my own unit, but in fact I wanted to go out with girls, especially a very precise girl who had promised to give me cigarettes (which was forbidden at home) and possibly beer. But Father decided that it "it was my duty” to go there because it would be an excellent opportunity to learn to guide young boys, which was after all one of my duties as Scout. So my father took all of us, Mother (who was better now), Ann, Simon and me to the camp and told us that he would stay in a nearby hotel with Mother and Ann for the duration of the camp, but that he would come regularly to see how Simon and me were doing. Simon put on proudly his neat Cub Scout uniform and, since it was not a meeting of my own unit, I chose to go with a tee-shirt saying "Peace and Love” in front and "Make Love, Not war” in the back. I also wore very ordinary jeans, carefully torn. Father reminded me that it was a scout event and that I went there as Scout leader, so "You better go there in full Scout uniform”. I replied that it was not my unit, etc. So after a certain time negotiating I accepted to take my uniform beret, my scout scarf and my uniform shoes, but not more.
On a Friday afternoon, Father drove us to the place where the camp was situated. It was a long drive, several hours, before we reached a small hotel near the limit of a forest : that was the place where father, Mother and Ann would stay while Simon was playing with the Cubs and I was supervising him and his comrades. Mother and Ann remained there and Father drove Simon and me inside the forest, on a small road, to the clearing where the camp was organized. That was another 40 minutes drive.
We arrived very late in the afternoon at the camp, around 5 pm. Father led Simon and me to one of the Camp Master assistant : he was a boy about my age, with very short hair, and he was in full Scout uniform. He told Simon to go to the tent assigned to him and prepare himself for the evening flag lowering parade, and after looking with what seemed to be disgust at me and my non-uniform, he said:
"Hello, I am Jack and you must be Matthew. My totem is Hawkeye, what is yours ?”
"Auroch”, I replied smiling. I had received my totem recently and I was proud to have undergone this Scout ritual.
Jack-Hawkeye went on : "Get ready, you don't have much time left : you better put on your uniform quickly.”
"But Hawkeye, I don't have a Scout uniform with me.”
"Well, that might be a problem. Go to our tent and I will warn the Camp Master, he has a solution for every problem.” And Jack-Hawkeye showed the way me to the Scout leaders tent and went looking for "Akela”.
I had noticed that Hawkeye's uniform was impeccable, I even think it was a new uniform. And I started to dislike all that and especially the short haired Hawkeye.
In the Scout leaders' tent I met 4 other Scouts, all of them in complete uniform. I told them that I was one of the 6 Scout leaders selected to serve as Camp Master assistant during this Cub camp. They warned me that I had to be in uniform like themselves. I told them that I had no other uniform than my beret and my scarf and they warned me that I would be in trouble with the Camp Master. They also told me that I had to call him by his Scout name, "Akela”, as leader of the pack. Finally they added that Akela was a retired Marine NCO, fanatic for properly worn uniforms … and for Marine Corps politeness.
A few minutes later, Akela came to our tent and started to scold me:
"Your father said you are a Scout, but you cannot claim this honored title if you don't wear the proper uniform. You cannot stay here dressed the way you are.”
"But Akela, I have my beret, the scarf I earned after my scout initiation, when I got my totem, and I also have the special shoes I only use for scouting”
"Boy, what's your name ?”
"I am Matthew Saunders, Akela.”
"Boy, I did not ask for your common name, but I want to know your scout totem, and quickly”
"After my scout initiation, I was called Auroch”
"You are not worth having such a strong name, but we are going to treat you as you deserve it.” And Akela started to shout. "You do not respect the Scout uniform and the Scout meetings: we are going to consider you as an uninitiated Cub scout, a new Cub thus. Hence, your name will remain ‘Matthew' during this camp. And you will be treated as a new Cub, the newest of this camp. From now on, Matthew, you will call me Akela and add "Sir” in front and at the end of every sentence you utter. I will get you an uniform after the parade is over, there is no time to get it now. You stay here and don't move. Understood ?”
"What did I tell you about the way you had to address me ?” shouted the Camp Master, which destabilized me.
I did not like it, but he seemed so furious that I thought wise to say : "Sir, Akela, understood, Sir”.
The first Camp Assistant I had seen, Hawkeye, had joined us and seemed to approve my last answer. Akela then left with the 5 other Scouts for the parade, while I stayed in the tent.
After about 30 minutes, Akela came back alone, with a big bag. He told me:
"You cannot stay here dressed the way you are and your tee-shirt is an insult to the Marine Corps. Take these clothes off, I have a uniform for you. And do it quickly !”
I did not answer but I did as I was told, assuming that was the best attitude to be at peace with the Camp Master. Then Akela opened his bag, put all my belongings in it, including my watch and my money. He then took an old Cub uniform out of the bag. I got blue short pants, a real Cub scout belt with a buckle saying "Cub Scout” on it and a green woolen pullover. Akela did not give me a shirt and I assumed that he was trying to simplify matters. On top of this he gave me a stupid green Cub cap and said:
"Get dressed, and quickly !”
I did what he expected since I had no other option, he had taken off my own clothes, beret included. When I was dressed, the Camp Master inspected me and took away my scout scarf:
"You don't deserve this one, we consider here that you are an uninitiated cub, that you have not passed the ritual yet and that you have no totem, so you will remain without any scarf.”
He then looked at my feet and said "And your socks !” My socks were not regulation socks, we never wore such socks in my unit : they were not woollen socks, and not long enough. Akela sighed and sadly said: "Take them off and throw them in the bag, for this evening and night, we will accept that you remain barefoot in your shoes. We will arrange for you to have decent socks tomorrow, but now it is too late. But I want YOU and all the Cub Scouts of MY camp to look like real Cub Scouts”. He was shouting while saying that. So I remained barefoot in my own shoes, which was not a very comfortable way of wearing shoes, even very good ones, like the ones I had carefully chosen for my Scouting activities.
Since I had no shirt Akela showed me how to put the Cub belt on top of my green woolen pullover.
"Wear this belt and notice that there are small rings on it to attach several things. You will need this. Hawkeye will explain you how Cubs carry their stuff.”
I felt stupid in this uniform, first because it was a baby uniform, a uniform for a Cub Scout and not a real Scout uniform. But also because this old uniform had obviously been worn a lot, torn in several places and repaired afterwards : it looked like a second hand uniform, which is what it was !
But the worst was still to come !
Akela finally told me : "You must now go and join your companions and eat with them. You take this rucksack with you” and he pointed to a small rucksack I had not seen yet "it contains all the other things you will need as a new Cub for this week : your sleeping bag, another set of underwear, your mess kit which includes a mess tin, a tin cup and a fork and spoon”
I did not believe my ears : "What do you mean by my new Cub things ?”
"Cub Matthew, remember that's your name here, how did I tell you a Cub Scout should speak to me ? Start again !”
"Sir, Akela, what do you mean by my new Cub things, Sir ?”
"Matthew, you are not fit to serve as Scout leader, so you will spend this week at the place where you belong: with your brother, as a new Cub”
I was ready to explode and said without obeying his orders : "Certainly not, if you want me to do that, I leave the camp immediately. Give me back my own clothes and I go to my father.”
"Cub, you did not speak properly, but I will try to forget it. Now, you have no choice : I am not giving you your old clothes back and your pockets are empty. Furthermore, I spoke with your father and he fully agrees. This week you are going to behave like a Cub because you are now a real Cub and NOTHING ELSE” he was again shouting when he said the last words "Understood?”
I had realized that I was now Akela's prisoner and that I had no choice, having no money, no nothing to leave the Camp which was miles away from everything decent. So I replied, lowering my head, "Sir, Akela, it is understood, Sir”.
"Cub Matthew, you are also going to behave like the other Cubs and obey the Camp Master assistants, they” and he stressed the ‘they' "are good and reliable Scout leaders. So you will address them exactly as I told you to address me. Understood ?”
I had no choice, so I obediently said "Sir, Akela, it is understood, Sir” since I obviously had no choice.
Akela opened the tent door and called Jack, the first Scout leader I had met in this camp and told him : "Hawkeye, get hold of this Cub. His name is Matthew and he is a uninitiated new Cub, without totem. You must bring him to his brother's tent where he will spend the week under your leadership. But before that you bring him to the infirmary, put a big bowl on his head and cut all the extra hair.”
At that moment, I revolted once more, maybe the last time I did so and objected "Not my hair.”
"Cub, again you did not speak in the proper way. But we will forget all that for the time being, haircut included. Hawkeye, take him away.”
On the way, Jack-Hawkeye told me that Akela was really furious and that he was not ready to let me go : he wanted to punish me for my lack of uniform, but also for the inscriptions on my tee-shirt. So he had decided to humiliate me, and instead of letting me do the foreseen job, Akela had purposely chosen to give me a Cub uniform and to force me to live during a whole week as a Cub. So Hawkeye, who knew Akela much better than I thought, told me to adopt a low profile. This included my encounters with my father who was also furious, but had not said so when we were still at home. This also included accepting some "slight” haircutting.
Jack, or I should better from now on use only his Scout's name : Hawkeye, took me to a big tent which I assumed to be the infirmary, told me to sit on a chair and got hold of a bowl and of scissors. He insisted that I remained calm and promised to cut a minimum. But the bowl was not big enough. So Hawkeye had an idea: he placed my (provisional) cub cap on my head the best way he could. It was not easy because I had so much hair that the cap did not hold well and kept falling. Then Hawkeye started to cut the protruding hair. And there was a lot of protruding hair since the cap was too small to fit my head with all its hair. I could hear Hawkeye cutting, and cutting and trying to make it look nice, and cutting more, and I felt very bad. I could feel that he was pulling my hair to cut it more easily. But after a certain time, which appeared very long to me, Hawkeye seemed very unhappy with the result of his cutting and said:
"That's enough, I just took a bit. Now, Cub, you take the broom there and get all this mess away.” I don't understand why, but I was so much under the influence of Akela's shouting that I obeyed without a word, not even trying to remind Hawkeye that in fact we were equals and that I was not really his subordinate. When I was done with the broom, I succeeded to have a look at my head which looked like a mess ! My long hair had been cut in a very inefficient way and I had now a very inelegant, a very horrible haircut. My hair looked shaggy and I could do nothing to make it look better. It was dreadful and Hawkeye appeared to be angry at me !
When the infirmary tent was clean again, my mentor took me again through the camp. Eventually, we reached Simon's tent. Jack-Hawkeye told me that he was now my leader and that I had to find a place where I could sleep. It was too late for food, so he gave me some bread. The tent was empty because the Cubs (the real ones) were in the mess tent, but nearly all the beds had been prepared and were clearly taken by a Cub Scout. I chose one of the available beds and started to prepare it with the sleeping bag given by Akela. The real Cubs came back and Simon was one of them. He looked at me and kept staring at me and at my head, not understanding what had happened. He asked me why I was wearing a cub uniform. I said nothing. I simply went to the available bed I had prepared, I did not take my clothes off, I simply chose to fall on this bed and started to cry a bit. Then I slept.
I slept till the next morning, until a bugle woke us all up. The sun was already up, but not very high in the sky, so I assumed that it was very early since we were at the very beginning of the Summer holidays, but I had no mean to assess the exact time : Akela had taken my watch with all my other things. There were 7 cubs in the big tent, plus me. Since we were all in cub uniform, they all assumed that I was cub, moreover a cub without totem who had not been initiated: I was just one of them. Two of them were about to undergo the cub initiation and get their totem, my little brother Simon was one of them, Cub John was the other one. I simply said that my name was Matthew, that I did not yet have a cub totem (which was technically true, I "only” had a scout totem, but it explained why I did not have my scarf which Akela had kept) and no more. Simon was smart and brother enough to keep silent. Hawkeye appeared and shouted as if he were a drill sergeant speaking to young recruits (and I know what that means) : "I want to see you all in uniform in front of this tent in five minutes.” That was easy for most of us, since we had not completely undressed before sleeping. Then Hawkeye continued :”Now you all go to the general morning sport exercise. Immediately after that, you go and get washed. After that you will get your breakfast”. He then added, looking angrily at me, "Cub Matthew, wash quickly immediately because you have to come with me instead of going to the sport session. Move, Cub.”
Since I had been told to keep a low profile, and since the guy who had told me that seemed now to be angry, I obeyed. I got dressed in two seconds, which was not difficult since I had fallen asleep without getting undressed. I washed summarily as rapidly as possible. And I started to follow Hawkeye who said : "I got in trouble because of you and your shaggy hair and I don't like that”.
He brought me back to the tent I assumed to be the infirmary. A lady was standing there. I later learned that she was Akela's wife and also an ex-Marine NCO. I also learned that this lady had worked in a barber shop! She told me : "Cub Matthew, when you arrived here your hair was too long. Hawkeye tried to give you a haircut, but he did not know how to do it properly. So now you really look awful. I will now equalize your hair with scissors and clippers, without taking too much off. And there will be no discussion about this.” She made me sit on the same chair as before and started to let the scissors cut what appeared to her as "excessive mass of hair”, as she told me. She then let the clippers go. I could feel them on my neck and on the sides of my head, but I could not see what she was doing. I was frozen at the idea of having this second haircut in less than 24 hours. After a time, she added "We are nearly done, but you still have too much hair on the top of your head to fit in your Cub cap. So I will thin it a bit.” I felt too much exhausted by all the changes that were imposed on me and I did not even try to react, but again I could feel the scissors and the clippers in full action on my head, Akela's wife was not only cutting hair but also pulling my hair so that my nice curly hair would look straight. She really wanted to thin down the whole thing. When she decided that she was done, I had an opportunity to look in the mirror : I looked exactly like my young brother when Ann brought him back from the hairdresser: Simon was not allowed to choose his haircut. I appeared to be a brave 13 year old Cub Scout, with his Cub uniform and his babyish face, with a well done haircut without any curl. I looked ready to wear a stupid Cub cap. Akela's wife told me to put on my cap for a last check. She then concluded:
"You now have a decent roundhead, like they said in England in Cromwell's time.”
She was right : my hair was much shorter, adapted to the Cub cap, and no hair was anymore protruding from the Cub cap. She then added:
"Your socks looked horrible so Akela had to throw them away. You cannot remain barefoot in your shoes, so I got you some decent socks. Put them on NOW and quickly. Pull them as high and pull the ribbon as well you can”.
Obediently, but how else could I have done, I took off my shoes, put on her grey long woolen socks with a yellow line on top and a little yellow ribbon falling from the top on the side, and attached my shoes again. I felt even more ridiculous, especially because I now looked like my brother and no longer like the teenager I felt I was.
Hawkeye took again control of me and asked:
"The other Cubs have finished with the morning sport exercise and they are eating. Did you eat already ?”
This was a stupid question since he knew I did not have enough time to go to the mess tent.
"Sir, no Sir” was my prudent reply. This form of reply seemed to please Hawkeye, who had clearly chosen to reduce me to new Cub status, forgetting that we had the same age and that I was also a Scout with a real totem.
"Do you have your mess kit ?”
"Sir, no, Sir” was again my reply.
"That's stupid of you, Cub Matthew. You should always keep them with you.”
He took me back to the tent where my "things” were and showed me that the mess tin had a little strap which I could attach to my Cub belt, and that all the other necessary eating items could fit in the mess tin. I affixed these items as I had now been told, something I had never done in my own Scout unit. Hawkeye walked me then to the mess tent where I could rejoin the "other cubs” of my tent and eat with them. I was late and the pots full of food were already on the table assigned to "my” tent. I was hungry so I ate all I could. Luckily, we had ample time to eat and there was more than enough food.
After breakfast, we had the morning parade with the "raising the colours” ceremony. After that, we did all kind of exercises as Hawkeye told us. I had had time enough to think "it is only for a week”. We had arrived on a Friday evening and were due to leave on the next Saturday, so it was slightly more than a week : only a week and one day. This kept me going. Hawkeye was a good organizer. Contrarily to me, he had clearly prepared this week and gave us clear orders to start and end activities, mealtimes, getting washed and going to bed. I felt I was treated like a baby, but that was the reality : I was treated like a young new Cub, the supposed eldest one of our tent being Simon who was nearly 13. So apparently, none "of us” was a real teenager.
During that first day, I met my father who looked at me and said "You look much better with your short pants, and your hair looks much better. You should always have it that short. And you wear uniform short pants and no tee-shirt with text that could hurt brave people. Continue like this, it is good for you.”
The first evening, the cubs who were about to receive a totem started the ceremony sitting around a big campfire. Simon was one of them and I knew what would happen, having been through this for my Scout initiation. But now I had to remain far from that, with the other younger or new cubs, in order to ignore the mysteries of this initiation. I hated Akela a little bit more, and my father with him. I also added Hawkeye to my "hate group”. He was guarding us out of view of the ceremony.
Simon did not come to the tent to sleep : he was in the full process of getting his totem. The next morning, when the bugle woke us all up, Hawkeye came in the tent and said : "Cub Matthew and Cub Peter, continue your duty. Now, quickly, get ready all of you.”
The day before, after breakfast he had told all of us :
"Since Cub Matthew and Cub Peter are the newest Cub Scouts in this group, they will be in charge of all the chores. This includes cleaning the tent and getting the food for your table.”
A new day had started, my second day in the camp and I was counting. Peter and me cleaned the tent until it looked perfect. Later we were also in charge of getting the big pots full of indescribable food to our table. This was a bad part of the role which had been assigned to me as "newest new Cub”: Peter and I had to go to a tent serving as kitchen, get there the two heavy pots foreseen for our table and bring them back without spilling anything. There was also water on the table, neither coffee nor hot chocolate. At the table, all the Cubs had to stand there until Hawkeye deigned to tell us "Be seated and eat”. I must say that even if the food looked indescribable, it was eatable, and even good. And there was lots of food and enough time for all of us to eat.
After breakfast, we had the morning parade followed, since it was Sunday, by a big assembly of Cubs and parents, plus the Scout leaders. Akela said a few words serving as non denominational service and then told each of us to "pray according to his own religion”.
Then the Cubs who had been initiated during the last night were presented one by one, with their totem, to the assembly. This is how I learned that my brother Simon was now "Cub Helpful Deer” and that I had to address him using this name only. I must say that "Helpful Deer” sounded like a good description of my brother.
Akela then added, in front of all of us, that "One of the Scout leaders foreseen for this camp could not join us” (he was probably referring to me) "so I had to reorganize the structure. After discussing things with the Scout leaders, it has been decided that Scout leader Hawkeye will be in charge of two groups, helped by the oldest of all initiated Cubs. This is Cub Helpful Deer who will replace the missing Scout leader.”
This meant that I would have to obey my little brother ! Another of Akela's humiliations !
Akela closed the meeting, Simon-Helpful Deer joined our group, very proud of what had just occurred, and the usual routine started for this day. Hawkeye, helped by Simon, was very efficient in organizing new activities for his two groups and the day was not unpleasant. At noon meal, Hawkeye confirmed that Peter and I would have to continue to do all the chores till the end of the camp "because you are the most newest Cubs here”. Cub Helpful Deer presided the table and it was thus my little brother who told me (and Peter) to go to the kitchen, and when we were back, who said "Be seated and eat”. After lunch, we had another set of activities until the evening meal followed by a campfire where we started all to sing several scout and cub songs. And that was the end of the day. Not too bad thus, except for the humiliations inflicted by Akela ! I could accept that I had to do some chores, but not during the whole camp and I really did not like being placed under the authority of my little brother, even if he did everything to hide my problem, as a real brother ought to do !
This routine remained unchanged till the end of the camp. Hawkeye was looking at me with a disdainful look every time we met : we were of the same age, but he was a Scout leader and I was a miserable new Cub who had failed to arrive in scout uniform. ‘Helpful Deer', i.e. my brother Simon, continued (with a visible pleasure) to preside at all our meals and to organize work inside the tent, as Hawkeye's helper, and I continued, with Cub Peter, to accomplish all chores. The rest of the activities were great and all in all, it was not too bad for me.
On the Saturday morning, last morning in the camp, Hawkeye came into our tent immediately after the bugle woke us up:
"Get quickly washed and ready for sport.” He then barked:
"You, Cub Matthew, you go immediately after getting washed to Akela's tent. Go and be quick!”
I now knew that it was easier to obey, so I did as I had been told and raced towards Akela's tent.
Akela did not say "Hello” or anything like that. He immediately started, nearly shouting as usually:
"Cub Matthew, when you arrived here you were not in uniform. In fact you were a disgrace to the scout movement. Now, you have a proper uniform and you look like a really good and obedient Cub. Do you realize the difference ?”
In fact I realized that I was in a uniform I did not like, and that this was very different from what I had expected, but there was no point trying to explain that to Akela, the barking ex-Marine NCO. So I simply replied as I had been told:
"Sir, Akela, yes Sir” hoping that this discussion would stop very soon and that I would be able to go to sport and breakfast.
"So, Cub Matthew, after all, did you like your stay in this camp ?”
Well it had not been perfect, but not too bad either, so, knowing that Akela did not know the nuances, I simply replied again:
"Sir, Akela, yes Sir”
"That is good, because your father has decided to enrol you in the ‘Cubs and Scouts Academy' for the coming year. This Academy is a boarding school not far from here where you will enjoy wearing a Scout uniform and obeying scout discipline during a full year.”
Akela had now his sadistic tone of voice, the one he used when he wanted to punish a Cub. Probably the one he used when he wanted to mold a new recruit into a real US Marine. I was in a state of shock, hearing that Father wanted me to go to a boarding school far from all my friends; I was totally unable to react.
Akela then continued:
"Your father had warned me when he asked me to invite you to be a Scout leader. I believe he wanted to test you. The way you were dressed when you arrived here was worse than what he had me let me expect. I hope that in the future you will be better and have more respect for your uniform. Go now, Cub Matthew.”
I did not know what to say, and I was on the verge of crying: I could not accept the idea of going to a boarding school and I also knew that once Father had made up his mind, there was no way changing it! So I left Akela's tent, doing my best not to cry : at the age of 15, you don't cry anymore, at least not in public. I went slowly towards my tent when I saw that my father was waiting for me.
"Matthew my boy, I wanted to test you. I was convinced that you would not put on your best Scout uniform, as required. But you did worse with that old pair of jeans and that tee-shirt with these aggressive inscriptions. This corresponded perfectly to your insistence to ask for long trousers, your insistence to have long hair, and to go to the movies with girls instead of studying. Your 9th grade has been very bad. Despite what your teachers say, I will not let you start your 10th grade now: it would be very bad for your future. So, with Mother, we have decided that you will repeat that 9th grade. In order to place all chances on your side, we send you to a private boarding school: the "Cubs and Scouts Academy”. You will be in uniform there, and the discipline will be very strict. I hope that you will become a more disciplined boy and that this year in boarding school will help you acquire the self-discipline you are lacking. I understand that adjusting to this new life will be very difficult for you in the beginning: make the required efforts in order to be soon one of the best students. You will have the help of your brother Simon who has been told about this while you were with Akela: Simon has asked me to be allowed to go too to this Academy and I have accepted.”
I was now really crying and did not reply. Father sent me to the washroom to regain some composure, and he told me to go then to the mess tent, accomplish my duty as usual and get ready for my "transport” to the C&S Academy !
I walked slowly to the mess tent where Hawkeye was waiting for me. He simply said : "So we are going to be in the same school ? Remember, you are only a Cub.”
I did not really listen nor did I try to realize what this implied. I started my job as "server” with Peter. During the breakfast, Simon-Helpful Deer kept looking at me, as if asking "do you know already what is going to happen to you”. So I made a sign, showing, I hoped, that I had been informed. After breakfast we all started to dismantle the camp and to clean the place, in a pure scout tradition. I did my share of the job, but I was working like a robot, still under the shock of having to go to a boarding school and also to have to repeat my 9th grade. When lunch time came, I did my duty, for the last time I hoped, with Peter. We dismantled then the mess tent and the kitchen and the "chores Cubs” finished cleaning the place while the others were saying "good bye”. Many parents had come to fetch their sons. Father, Mother and Ann came and kissed me, and did the same with Simon. Father then blessed us and wished us a fruitful year. Each of us took his bag with his uniform (at least for me, the bag given by Akela) and then moved towards a little bus, with the last group of cubs and scouts (Hawkeye was one of them): we were all returning or new students of the C&S Academy. As soon as we were all seated, the bus door was closed and I felt trapped. My parents were still looking and waving. Simon replied but I did not, I was too busy refraining from crying in public. The bus started to move and we disappeared through a small route in the forest.
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