Scout Executive Paul Berkbigler

When I think of Paul Berkbigler, Shawnee District Scout Executive, I think of Norman Rockwell’s illustration of a Scoutmaster looking over his charges that graced the Scoutmaster’s Handbook. He was a man for whom a Scout uniform was made. I never heard him say a discouraging or unkind word to anyone, boy or adult, and he always had time to talk with any boy who came up to him. (Click on the photo to make it larger.)

This photo was taken at the 1963 pre-Camporee. I thought there would be all kinds of stories about his background and where he went, but Google popped up just three stories when I searched for his name. He wasn’t listed in the 1969 City Directory, so he may have left Cape by then. I hope someone can fill in the blanks.

Other Scout stories

I have scores of pictures taken of Scouts of all kinds: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownies, Explorers. If they wore a uniform, I shot ’em. I’ll post more as I get them sorted out. Here are some Scout-related stories from the past.

Where Did 36 Years Go?

September 27, 1975, I pulled out my company two-way radio and announced the arrival of Matthew Louis Steinhoff. The next stop was to apply a bumper sticker I had custom made.

Newspaper announcement

In keeping with the newspaper theme, a couple of the gals in the Art Department put together this front page mockup. (Don’t try to read the stories. They pulled random real copy out of the paper to fill the space.)

Time flies when you’re having family

The photo gallery will show how quickly time passes. We survived swim meets (he was Rookie of the Year when he was five); photo contests, Scouts, high school and his move to Orlando to work for The Orlando Sentinel (and his move back to Palm Beach Gardens). Along the way, he met and married Sarah, one of the two best daughter-in-laws any parents could hope for. (Son Adam snagged Carly, the other keeper).

Matt and Sarah have their own Tiger Scout now, seven-year-old Malcolm, and Adam and Carly have started their family with Graham, who was born in February.

How do you pick through 36 years of photos?

Wife Lila looked at my photo picks and kept saying, “You missed that one. You have one with your Dad, but not your Mother. You left out …. How about….?”

My only answer was, “This ain’t his last birthday.” Scores of photos come to mind, but I went with some new ones I discovered this week going through old slide trays. Mixed in are some oldies that are favorites (or, to be honest, were easy for me to find.)

Wish Matt a Happy Birthday

Here’s a quick overview of Matthew Louis Steinhoff. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery. Don’t worry. We’ll add to the collection next BDay. I’ll be sure to have one of Mother in that batch.



Train Trip to New Mexico

With all of the excitement about the Union Pacific steam engine coming through Cape, it was good timing to stumble onto my train ticket going from Cape to Philmont Scout Ranch in Raton, N.M., in 1962.

Service club sent us to Philmont

One of Cape’s service clubs sent three Scouts to Philmont for a Junior Leader Instructor Training Course (JLIT). I wish I could remember which club it was, because it was one of the greatest experiences of my young life. I’ll be sure to find out by the time I write up the whole trip.

Classmates Bill Hardwick and Martin Dubs were the other two Scouts.

In the Things Never Change Department, note the Missourian headline above our photo.

People traveled by train

A cross-country trip by train wasn’t unusual in those days.

A train trip from Cape to Chaffee was a rite of passage for kindergarten classes at Trinity Lutheran School.

I hopped a train from Cape to Peoria for a photo conference in the late 60s. I went back and forth between Cape and Athens the first year I was at Ohio University. Unfortunately, the railroads were doing everything they could to discourage passenger travel, so they arranged it so you’d have a day layover in Cincinnati, making it impractical. The inconvenience and student standby rates offered by airlines ended my train travel.

Round trip ticket cost $63.86

It looks like we were on the Frisco, Missouri Pacific and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe rail lines to get there and back. The carbon is a little hard to read, but it looks like the round trip cost $63.86. Another stub showed that we paid 50 cents for a “Special Service Charge for Reserved Coach Seat.”

Filet Mignon cost $3.50

The menu shows that a bacon-wrapped, 8-oz. Filet Mignon with a baked potato, chef’s salad, hot bread, green peas and a drink cost $3.50. I was probably put out by that extravagant price because I could get a filet with fries and a salad at Wayne’s Grill for $1.25. Darned gougers.

I’m pretty sure the cook cars still used wood stoves on this run.

Strip sirloin was $3.95

The special might have been a better deal: a 12-oz. charcoal-broiled strip sirloin steak with baked potato, fresh green beans, tossed salad, hot biscuits and a drink for $3.95.




Tuf-Nut and Other Pocket Knives

I’ve got a small wooden box on the dresser where I keep “heirlooms.” Any thief who mistakes it for a jewelry box is going to be disappointed. Well, now that I think of it, it has three rings in it: a Cub Scout ring, a Boy Scout ring and my Philmont Scout Ranch ring.

Tuf-Nut knives came from Buckner-Ragsdale

It also contains these two knives. Probably every boy in Cape had at least one of these Tuf-Nut knives. They came with blue jeans bought at the Buckner-Ragsdale store on the corner of Broadway and Main Street.

Have you earned your “Totin’ Chip?”

The Tuf-nut and the Boy Scout knife that dangled from a belt clip were rites of passage. You were supposed to have a “Totin’ Chip” before you could use any wood tool like a knife, saw or axe.

The wooden-handled pocket knife was a gift from my Grandfather, Roy Welch, when I was about eight years old. The handle was chipped when I got it and the blade had been sharpened so many times that it was about a third smaller than when new, but I still treasured it.