Written to the scouts of Troop 203 at Hahn Air Base in West Germany.
You guys were such fun to be with! My time spent with military brats was the best time of my life. I walked into my first scout meeting as an adult leader and a scout asked me if I knew the Scout Law. Then he asked me if I knew the Scout Oath. Upon hearing my answers, he raced into the meeting room and announced that, “I knew,” and that I wouldn’t be fooled so easily. That particular scout could never recall either the Scout Law or the Scout Oath correctly for as long as I knew him. I have known the Scout Law and Scout Oath since I was ten and it’s more important to me now than it ever has been. Scouting makes great citizens and I enjoyed every minute I ever spent in Scouting. I have always wondered what became of each and every one of you guys. The real reason I left my position as Scoutmaster had nothing to do with you guys. It was all about me. My wife baked a cake for my birthday and she served it outside of our home near Altlay, West Germany. There it was right in front of me, a cake, and I panicked, I didn’t know what to say or do, a sort of scary flat effect that signified the onset of Manic Depression in my life. I was 23 and didn’t know what had just happened. It scared the hell out of my first wife and she soon left me. It scared me as well so I first tried living with my new-found filter of anxiety and fear without any real success. Over the years I got worse and thought I was really amazing when I was actually hurting everybody I met. I got to the point where I could smell things that weren’t there and hear things that weren’t there before I put my pride in my pocket and went for professional help. The EAP (Employee Assistance Program) counselor saw me for one hour. He wrote furiously almost every word that came out of my mouth. He then referred me to a set of counselors that might be able to help me. I chose the one who could figure out my problem in five sessions or less. Upon meeting the new psychologist, he asked me what I thought my problem was, I told him that I had Bipolar I. On our fourth meeting I asked him if he was going to kick me loose and what he thought was really wrong with me. Yes, he said, and he said that I had Bipolar I. He also referred me to the med-nurse who immediately put me on Depakote. I felt amazingly happy for three days and then I started felling like I needed a career change, so I thought about moving down to California and offering to run the Manson gang for a while. I stopped taking meds the next day. Decades of counseling followed and being fitted up with Psych meds became my hobby. I have been saddled with a debilitating psychological problem that grows worse. In no way did I ever want to stop doing Scouting, but I was given a disease that I have never handled correctly or well. I miss you guys and will always wonder what happened to you.