Eagle Scout

An article from the Home News of Central New Jersey (July 11, 1971).

“Friday, June 11, 1971, Milltown, New Jersey: Henry Doktorski of 416 Riva Aveneu, ws awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at the court of honor held by Troop 28 of East Brunswick. The presentation was made by Neighborhood Commissioner Herman Newlin at the Brookview Volunteer Fire Co., which sponsors the troop. Doktorski, a Home News delivery boy, is a freshman at St. Peter’s High School, New Brunswick. At the school he participated in three seasons of track and has won the freeshman chess tournament. A member of the troop for the past four years, he has held the positions of scribe, librarian, patrol leader, and assistant senior patrol leader. His awards include the Valley Forge Medal, the Jockey Hollow Medal, the Towpath Trail Award, the Mile Swim Emblem and is a member of the Order of the Arrow, Narraticong Lodge.”

Henry recalled, “I had a great time in the Boy Scouts, at least once I rose up in rank and experience. (Tenderfeet—novices—as a rule were routinely played pranks on by higher-ranking boys in the troop. Sometimes, while sitting around the camp fire in the evening, a leader asked me to get him a “left-handed smoke shifter.” After searching and asking around, I found out it was just a prank.) We used to go on monthly camping trips, canoe trips, hiking trips. We following General Washington’s travels through New Jersey on the Jocky Hollow Trail, we went hiking a trail in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, we went to summer camp at Camp Sakawawin in Branchville, in the Appalachian Mountains of North-Western New Jersey where I completed the “Mile Swim.” It wasn’t difficult. It took me an hour to swim a mile. Just relax and take your time with breast strokes, back strokes, side strokes. Don’t lift your arms out of the water; it’s too strenuous. Pace yourself. Sometimes we got in trouble with the camp staff for taking out the canoes on the lake and ramming each other. But it was lots of fun.

“Later when our Scout Master resigned, my father stepped in and served as Scout Master for a few years. Music was not mentioned in the article, as at the time I only played accordion. A few months after this article was published, a friend convinced me to join the Saint Peters High School choir, and I discovered classical music. Soon after, I began serious piano studies. Regarding my job as a newspaper delivery boy, I used to make ten cents for every paper I delivered. I liked riding my bicycle for my five-mile route in mostly rural East Brunswick, except one time I was bitten by a nasty dog. Soon after, I gave my paper route to my sister, and I started working as a counter clerk at Hardee’s Meat Market on Riva Avenue in East Brunswick near the border with Milltown. I used to make minimum wage, $1.75 an hour I think. Soon after, I got a job playing Cordovox (an electronic accordion/organ) with the Ernie Kuhn Orchestra, and we played many wedding receptions in Central New Jersey. I used to make $33.00 per three-hour gig. During our breaks, I’d try new drinks at the bar. (I was 16 or 17 but the bartenders didn’t ask my age.) Once at a wedding reception in Cranford, Union County, I drank a little too much, and I drove 21 miles home on deserted streets not exceeding 25 mph. I was extremely cautious as I understood I was a bit tipsy and I didn’t want to have an accident!”

The original Home News article can be seen at Newspapers.com.