Boy Scout Troop 135

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Ed Hicks

The Boy Scouts was a big part of my life in the 60’s.

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I joined the Cub Scouts in the summer of 1963 completing the 5 badges, Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Lion, and Webelos. I began Boy Scouts in 1965 at the age of 10 and continued on till the end of school year 1969 – 1970 at the age of 15 when we moved to Florida.   

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Ed Hicks

Oh the great times we had under the leadership of Ed Hicks our Scoutmaster. Most of my friends were in it from tenderfoot on. I prior to Boy Scouts attended cub scouts and earned the Webelos badge. So I was ready and prepared to make the change to Boy Scouts.

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The following are the current ranks of a Boy Scout. Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle. I was a Boy Scout through the rank of Life. I never joined a troop after I moved to Florida.

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The troop 135 met at the Wattles Park Jr High building (torn down now) cafeteria on Wednesday nights at 7:00 PM. I played bugle and earned the Bugler patch for doing so.  I would hide in the curtains on the double stage that separated the cafeteria from the gymnasium.  Then at exactly 1900 I would play the assembly bugle call and all the Scouts would line up and square up for inspection. At the end of our meeting I would again hide in the curtains, wait for the signal from one of the leaders, and then play taps to end the meeting.

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A typical Scout Camp out in the 60’s

We were a motley crew indeed. Too young to have military discipline and bearing and too old for toys and kids stuff. After Mr. Hicks and Mr. Hamilton looked us over and gave us a rundown on things happening with the troop, we all went to the round tables in the cafeteria in our different squads that formed the troop and worked on merit badges.

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A Boy Scout Jamboree

A memory comes to mind when the troop participated in a Boy Scout Jamboree. I was a tenderfoot and it was my first camp out. I had been studying the boy scout manual about cooking, and general camp keeping. Our troop  arrived at the Jamboree and Ed Hicks instructed us to set up our tents together in squads. Our squad finished setting up camp and then hung out around the fire and chatted.

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Three older scouts from another troop walked into our camp and asked if any of us would like to join them for a “snipe hint”. The following is a quote from Wikipedia as to what a Snipe hunt is. 

“Although snipe are actual birds, a snipe hunt is a quest for an imaginary creature whose description varies. The target of the prank is led to an outdoor spot and given instructions for catching the snipe; these often include waiting in the dark and holding an empty bag or making noises to attract the creature.”

The older scouts in our squad smiled and one of them said “Na I will pass but thanks for asking.  Why not you Jim? And you Cliff and Greg? Why don’t you go with them?” Well we had never been on a snipe hint so we told the older boys yes. We would love to go. “Okay. We will start in about 1 hour after it gets dark. We will come and get you.” Said one of the older scouts.

After it got dark the boys came and asked if we were ready.  We said yes and we followed them into the big field where 20 or so other tenderfoot scouts were waiting. The older Scouts gave half of us pillow cases. He then gave us instructions.  He said “Okay boys. Here is how to catch snipes. Break up into pairs. One of you hold the pillow case open and crouch down behind your partner and follow him close.  And you with out the pillow case raise your arms up high and swing them back and forth. While you are doing this both of you yell out. Here snipe! Here snipe! Be careful. Snipe are very fast and hard to catch.” We all nodded that we understood our instructions and the older Scouts signaled for the hunt to begin.

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So there we all were. 20 or so of us combing the field for snipes! All of us screaming at the top of our lungs “Here snipe! Here snipe” with half of us crouched down with pillow case in hand and the other half with raised arms swinging them back to and fro. We looked ridiculous! All this time all of the older scouts were laughing and laughing and rolling on the ground in amusement! It soon became clear that we had been had! Hoodwinked if you will. The older Scouts called off the hunt and gathered us around. One of the older Scouts said “Now that you have all been on a snipe hunt you are now able to conduct snipe hunts in future camp outs. You must never tell the younger scouts that you all were tricked. But that is the fun if the whole thing as now you can do the same thing!” We all agreed that it was fun and promised to keep it to ourselves.

Our troop camped out many times in many locations.  My favorite was camping at Ludington at Hamlin lake in Michigan.  There was a boy scout facility there with bunk house and dining hall. I learned and earned fishing merit badge there as well as archery and rifle shooting.  One camp out comes to mind at Hamlin lake.  It was a 20 mile canoe trip down the big sable river that flows into lake Hamlin and eventually into lake Michigan. 

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A typical Boy Scout Canoe trip

We set out down the river in about 20 canoes and made a stop each night and set up camp and prepared the evening meal. For lunches we were previously instructed for each of us to bring 3 cans of soup.  When we stopped for lunch a fire was prepared and we would each dump one can of soup into the big pot.  Ed Hicks called it trail soup as it was a mixture of many different soups.  It was quite a long trip but we made it in 3 days to the end at Hamlin Hamlin lake.  Going down the river was fun and easy as we were going down stream. As soon as we hit Hamlin lake the going got tougher as there was no longer any help from the river. We had to paddle the last five miles all on our own.  

Scouting was a big part of my life and I am so glad I participated in it. I believe that it helped me be what I am today. I am forever grateful for Mr. Hicks and Troop 135!

Late night trouble and shenanigans!


In the summer of 1968 the cousins of my friend Greg came to visit.  They were 2 boys about our same age. Greg called them “The Tornadoes”. We asked him why and he said. “Everything that they touch breaks. I have to hide my best toys when they visit!”


We asked and got permission from our respective parents for a camp out in Greg’s back yard. After getting an affirmative we started making plans for the nights activities and shenanigans.


If our parents thought we were little angels and just sat around the campfire singing and then calmly get in our sleeping bags and go to sleep, they were sadly mistaken! We would roam the neighborhood looking for mischief!


Our late night antics included many things.  One night we took some ducks from a neighbor’s pen and stuffed them into his car.  You can only imagine the mess they made!


Or perhaps steal a watermelon from Mulvaney’s farm.


Or just run around the neighborhood like heathens from hell, ringing doorbells and then running and hide.


Or perhaps calling a taxi to come to a address that we had stalked out and wait in hiding to see what happened and watch the argument between the taxi driver and the innocent people involved.


This nights mischief included making peace signs on the asphalt roads near the school. We used gasoline poured out in a giant peace sign on the road, light it and run from the giant fireball and hide.

We would roam the neighborhood smoking cigarettes and laughing,  except for Carlos.  He hated smoking and you had to hide your cigarette pack from him. If he got hold of them he would break them one by one between his fingers.

We were not bad kids. Just very mischievous and energetic.  This night I speak of with the “Tornadoes” in tow, we took it just a bit too far!


After lightning the peace sign on Boyer drive the five of us continued up Boyer drive towards the Jr. High school. On the way one of the “Tornadoes” got into a VW bug parked in someone’s driveway.  He discovered that the vehicle was easy to push and in a moment we were all pushing the car down the road towards Wattles Road. This is where we went to far. The moment that car left the driveway the charge becomes grand larceny.

It so happens that the owner of the VW worked nights and was just about to leave for work and observed the whole thing. At once he emerged from his house and chased us all down Boyer. He caught one of the “Tornadoes”. We ran to the end of Boyer and crossed Wattles road and hid in back of a house.  We knew that we all in serious trouble.  We watched as a police car turned right and headed up Boyer to the scene of the crime. We decided to give ourselves up. Greg blamed his cousin for being too slow and getting caught. However we could not abandon Greg’s cousin.  We all had to go back and face the music.


So we headed up Boyer to the mans house, and joined Greg’s cousin.  The policeman asked for our telephone numbers and he called our parents.

Soon our parents joined us. There was a long talk between our parents, the owner of the VW and the policeman.  Betty Habenicht, Greg’s mom gave us a good chewing out. If we tried to talk she simply said very sternly “Shut up” and continue on with her yelling.

The owner of the VW decided not to press charges.  We were turned over to our parents for punishment.

Needless to say we were all grounded for the rest of the summer.  I don’t know about the others. I was not allowed to leave my yard. The summer was ruined.  However it was our own fault.  Our parents had taught us better to respect others property.  This was the first and the last time I had got into serious trouble with the law.  The whole experience frightened me and gave me a renewed respect for the property of others. Other than traffic tickets I never again ran into trouble with the law.

The Blizzard of 1967


The winter of 1967 started out like any other in Michigan. Children and adults alike brought their snow gear out of storage and prepared to salt the sidewalks. Driving was a bit more treacherous, but Michiganders were used to this inconvenience — after all, it’s not the winter season in Michigan without a few cold-weather annoyances. But nothing could have prepared the people of Michigan for the storm that loomed on the horizon, waiting to take its deadly toll on the Great Lakes State.


Michigan has cold winters. Very cold and most years the cold in accompanied with lots of snow. The winter of 1967 was a record in Michigan as far as snowfall.

The 1967 blizzard caught many Michigan residents off guard. In several locations, the temperatures were in the 50s and 60s, and then a couple of days later on Jan. 26 and 27, the blizzard dumped lots of really heavy snow in a relatively short period. 28 inches of snow fell in the Battle Creek area in 2 days!

Here’s the snowfall totals measured in some of Michigan’s cities after the 1967 storm:

Kalamazoo … 30 inches

Battle Creek … 28.6 inches

Lansing … 24 inches

Saginaw … 23.8 inches

Flint … 22.7 inches

Grand Rapids … 18 inches

Jackson … 16 inches

Muskegon … 11 inches


The death toll from the Jan. 26-27 blizzard in Michigan reached 22. According to wire reports, most of the deaths were caused by heart attacks. In many of those cases, the heart attacks stemmed from trying to push stuck vehicles or by shoveling the heavy snow.

However, traffic fatalities were relatively low with only three reported deaths during the storm.

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The 1967 blizzard caused difficulties with many everyday items, including the pickup of milk. Many farmers had to dump their milk, because the Michigan Milk Producers Association was unable to pick up the milk from the farmers, according to a story in the Jan. 29, 1967 Jackson Citizen Patriot.


For us kids it was heaven! No school and endless adventures in the snow. We built forts in the snow and even tunneled deep into the snow with our fort making.

For the adults it was a terrible thing. I remember that dad could not go to work as his car was buried in the ditch.  I also remember people being driven to hospitals on snow mobiles as driving a car was impossible.  The snow drifted up on our house completely covering the back of the house!


Dad bought a snow blower in 1968. However snowfall in 1968 was light. It snowed a bit more in 1969 but not much. And in 1970 we packed it all in and moved to Florida.  So we never got to use the snow blower! However dad packed the snow blower in the moving van and took it with us on the move.  I never understood this as a snow blower is about as useful as tits on a bull in Florida! I guess he thought he could sell it here in Florida for reasons I never quite understood. Some of my friends in Florida had never seen a snow blower.  It was very interesting to them.  However the motor came in handy in making a go cart after the move to Florida. So to me the snow blower that became a go cart was a beautiful thing!