After a recent visit to my mom's apartment, I took the opportunity this week to go through the old scouting stuff that has been sitting in one storage unit or another for about twenty years.
First I discovered the remains of my wool campfire blanket, which clearly provided meals for many generations of moths; the dozens of patches were salvageable, the blanket not so much. I'll be sewing them onto a new camp blanket over the winter, and spent several happy hours spreading them out over an old army surplus blanket I have, thinking about how best to arrange them and remembering all those old camping events.
Second was my old Scouts Canada uniform -- or rather the very last uniform shirt I wore, since the colours changed and a teenage boy is hard on clothing in any case. I likely went through three or four in my teen years, both green and beige. This particular shirt still has my old red Rover epaulettes on it, my link badges (all four -- Beavers to Cubs, Cubs to Scouts, Scouts to Venturers and Venturers to Rovers) along with twelve years' worth of service bars and a Religion-in-Life patch. My troop and district patches are also still on the sleeve. Although I wore this shirt at the age of eighteen it does not, I am forced to admit, still fit me twenty years later. (The shirts I outgrew would have gone to my younger brother or may have been given as hand-me-downs to other scout families, likewise with my old berets or hats. My folks were rural and very unsentimental about some things.)
Then my old First Blenheim township neckerchief (or rather, two of them, one of which I suspect rightly belongs to my younger brother) in royal purple and gold with a Lions' Club sponsor patch. A rather plainer red neckerchief with a "CJ'93 Participant" patch on it.
A collection of woggles: a generic leather Scouts Canada Cub Scout woggle; a hand-painted and rather battered "Hathi" woggle made of a loop of electrical wire embedded in a plaster-of-paris elephant; a metal woggle from CJ'93; and most important of all, a hand-carved wooden woggle in the shape of a winged foot for Mercury the messenger -- a gift from Scouter Red Haymond after I was picked by my Akela to be the one who presented him with a lifetime achievement award.
My old Fieldbook for Canadian Scouting, dated 1990. A Canadian Scout Handbook, dated 1968. A 1977 BSA Field Book. My old Cub Book, dated 1986 and bearing the handwritten inscription "Presented to Paul Matisz on the occasion of his investiture by the 1st Blenheim Twp Group Committee, November 16/87".
My old swiss army knife in its leather belt pouch, a gift from my father when I earned my BP Woodsman badge; with a bit of WD40 and some careful sharpening the knife is now as good as ever; I have hopes that treating the dry and stiff leather with mink oil will restore the pouch. A cut steel Scouts Canada belt buckle, sans belt. My old lensatic compass, bought at army surplus (a Coghlan's knock-off so cheap that the thumb loop is installed upside-down.) A set of Canadian military nesting cutlery marked "Wallace 1966". A tarnished brass ring, purpose and origin unknown. An empty old plastic film can with a bit of sandpaper glued to it, intended for strike-anywhere matches. A plaster-of-paris baseball mitt, one inch wide. A leather lanyard with wooden beads and the crumbled remains of a feather.
Treasures beyond price.