So Cal Historyland
There at the Beginning . . . The Birth of the Order of the Arrow
I come from that last generation of Arrowmen in the late 1970s who were able to meet the founders of the Order of the Arrow, Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Col. Carroll A. Edson. And as a historian - even then - I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview and correspond with both men.
What follows is not a full-fledged history of the Order of the Arrow, but a collection of memories that help to describe a little of its earliest days. Many other people knew Dr. Goodman and Col. Edson far better than I, and others have done much more research on the history of the Order of the Arrow and its founders. But I still wanted to share what little I have been able to learn, and wonderful experience I had meeting our founders.
Phil Brigandi, Bambil Lekhiket
Wiatava Lodge #13
I truly believe that what set the Order of the Arrow apart from so many other camp honor societies in the early days - the thing that transformed it from a local group into a national organization - were its founders, E. Urner Goodman and Carroll Edson. Their devotion to the Order and their endless promotion of it, combined with their prominent positions in Scouting, made it possible for the Order to grow and thrive.
In fact, I would go one step further. I have come to suspect that many of the other camp honor societies that sprang up around the country in the early days may simply have been local versions of the Order of the Arrow. How else to explain the many similarities? Almost all used an Indian motif, or some other historic theme. Most had elected members, rather than membership requirements, and most had secret rituals and initiations.
By the 1920s, it would have been hard for any local Scout Executive not to have heard of the Order of the Arrow, perhaps even from Dr. Goodman or Col. Edson themselves. And it was Scout Executives who ran summer camps in those days. Who can say how many of them knew a good thing when they heard it, and adapted the idea to their own camp?
Only a theory, of course, but there is no doubt that the Order of the Arrow had other strengths that helped to transform it into a national organization. Having non-members elect the members, for example, kept it from becoming a clique. And keeping cheerful service in the forefront, kept it from becoming a social club.
Dr. E. Urner Goodman (1891-1980)
Dr. Goodman began his Scouting career in Philadelphia in 1911, when a young Scout from Troop 1 knocked on his door, and told him they were looking for an Assistant Scoutmaster.
(That Scout was Gil Talmadge, later known as the "founder's finder." I met him at the 1979 National Conference and found him a very pleasant man.)
In 1915, Dr. Goodman joined the staff of the Philadelphia Area Council, the start of a 36-year career in professional Scouting that included 20 years as Director of Program for the National Council.
Like Baden-Powell, he had an enduring youthfulness that followed him even into old age. He was bright, inquisitive, enthusiastic, sincere - and at times a little mischievous.
Wes Klusmann, the first National Director of Camping for the Boy Scouts, was Dr. Goodman's boss in the 1940s. He later retired to Orange County, where I would see him from time to time. At a Wiatava Lodge banquet in 1978, he told the best story I've ever heard about Dr. Goodman's playful side:
It seems he was at a dinner party at some fine home, and when the meal was over, the men headed to the living room, while the hostess went to the kitchen to start cleaning up. All the men but Dr. Goodman, that is. He appeared in the kitchen and offered to help do the dishes. The hostess was a little taken aback, but agreed.
"Good," he said, grabbing a dish towel. "I'll dry."
But as soon as she handed him the first dripping plate, he turned and walked out into the living room, joining in the conversation as he walked around, drying the plate. He did the same with every piece of china. Everybody thought it was a great joke, including the hostess - until the next day, when she couldn't find any of her dishes!
Then they started to turn up - a plate tucked behind a chair, a bowl on the bookshelf. As he'd walked around the living room, Dr. Goodman had hidden all the china, and no one had noticed.
Nelson Block has written an interesting biography of Dr. Goodman that I believe is still available through the National Office - A Thing of the Spirit, The Life of E. Urner Goodman (2000).
I also recently discovered that one of Dr. Goodman's many speeches is available online; it is well worth listening to: Dr. Goodman speech, 1966. There's also a brief history of the Order of the Arrow on that page, written by Jim Howes, another of that last generation of Arrowmen from the 1970s who knew the founders.
Col. Carroll A. Edson (1891-1986)
Col. Edson began his Scouting career in New York City in 1910, and was active in the program for more than 70 years. Like Dr. Goodman, he was on the staff of the Philadelphia Area Council in 1915, and assigned to Treasure Island.
After a short stint with the National Office, Col. Edson served as a District Executive in Chicago (1921-27) and a Scout Executive in Jersey City, New Jersey (1927-31), before leaving the profession. During the 1930s, he worked with the Civil Conservation Corps (the CCC), and then spent 24 years with the Society Security Administration.
Col. Edson and Dr. Goodman remained friends all of their lives. But like many good friends, they were in some ways very different men - in temperament, in personality, even physically. Dr. Goodman was a small, wiry man; Col. Edson was a big, barrel-chested soldier.
"Edson's talents were complimentary to Goodman's," Nelson Block writes. "Both men took their Scouting seriously. They were bright and energetic. They each had a scholarly bent and enjoyed putting ideas into writing. But where Goodman was spiritual and visionary, Edson was pragmatic and interested in planning the details that would bring the vision into being."
It was Edson, Block adds, who was perhaps the first to see that the Order of the Arrow could grow beyond the Philadelphia Area Council. In 1916, he created a fact sheet and an application form for other councils hoping to start their own lodge.
When it came to the Order of the Arrow, Col. Edson never seemed to mind living in Dr. Goodman's shadow. And Dr. Goodman made sure his friend's contributions were remembered.
I was glad, in a way, that Col. Edson made it to one more National Conference after Dr. Goodman passed away, in 1981, and had the limelight all to himself. Though his health failed after that, he did not die until 1986 - more than 70 years after the founding of the Order of the Arrow.
Meeting the Founders
I was inducted into the Order of the Arrow in 1974, just before our 60th anniversary. I'm sure that's when I became aware that Dr. Goodman and Col. Edson were both still alive. So sometime early in 1976 I decided to write to Dr. Goodman, care of the National Office. I still have his handwritten response, telling a little bit about the start of the Order:
"I had done some camping in a boy's brotherhood in my church and I knew it took more than knowledge of how to pitch a tent and cook a meal in the open. It took something of the spirit. It was with that in mind that we started the Order. The rule holds good!"
"It is good to have you express yourself," he concluded. I'll be glad to see you any time. Yours in our Brotherhood, E. Urner Goodman."
A year later, I followed up with a letter to Col. Edson, and received a two-page, typewritten reply, outlining the history of the Order.
Then came the National Jamboree in 1977, and I was on staff. Col. Edson came for a visit one day, and Tom Tabb, who was later my Section Advisor, arranged for me to meet him. I borrowed a tape recorder and we sat down for an interview, much of which is quoted below.
We also walked around the Jamboree a little bit together. To be honest, not many Scouts recognized Col. Edson, but those who did were delighted. I can remember several of them rushing off to dig out their sashes so he could autograph them.
Getting your sash signed by the founders was an OA ritual back then. Though officially frowned upon by National, who was going to tell Dr. Goodman and Col. Edson they couldn't do it?
But it could get out of hand. It might have been at the Jamboree that Col. Edson told me about a National Conference where he had started off across campus after lunch one day to watch the sport competitions. He hadn't gone more than a few yards before an Arrowman approached him and asked him to sign his sash. Of course, he obliged. And when he looked up, two more Arrowmen were waiting, sashes in hand. He signed them, and found four more young men waiting. Then eight, then sixteen . . . and so on for the rest of the afternoon. When it finally came time to turn around and head to dinner, he still had a line of Arrowmen waiting for an autograph, and he never did get down to the watch the competition!
When I was a Section Chief in 1979, I took the opportunity to get in touch with Dr. Goodman again. First by letter, and then by phone. I knew he couldn't come to our Conclave in California, but I decided to ask for the next best thing - would he record a speech for us to play during the evening show? He agreed, and we talked on the phone a couple times to set up the recording. I can remember Mrs. Goodman calling him to the phone: "Urner, it's the boy from California."
Dr. Goodman was living in Florida then, and we had fun playing at the old California vs. Florida rivalry. "Oh yes," he said when I first called, "California . . . I . . . I've heard of that place."
His speech, by the way, was a review of the new edition of the Scout Handbook, just published that year, and written by his old friend, "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt.
I was also able to attend the 1979 National Order of the Arrow Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, when my good friend, Larry Brown, was serving as National Vice Chief. Tagging along with Larry, I had the chance to meet Dr. Goodman face to face, and see Col. Edson again (see the photo of all of us together at the top of this page). When the meeting was over I took a deep breath and said:
"Dr. Goodman, I know you're very busy this week, but if you have any time at all, I'd love to sit down with you and talk a little bit about the history of the OA."
"Why yes," he said, without hesitation. "Just have them set up a time for you." And he pointed towards the little group of older Arrowmen who always looked after him at Conferences in those later years. I think they were not especially pleased that I had asked for a private meeting, but what could they do? Dr. Goodman said I got an interview.
When the appointed time came, I got an added bonus - Dr. Goodman had invited Col. Edson to come along as well. In fact, at Dr. Goodman's urging, he did most of the talking over the next half hour or so. Meanwhile, Dr. Goodman's handlers turned my interview into a public event, bringing young Arrowmen in and out to (quite literally) sit at the founders' feet and listen as I interviewed them.
They were just grabbing young kids out of the hall, but it happened that one of them was from my home troop back in Orange. Mike Stevens was a little blonde haired kid, maybe 14 then, but looking younger. When my time was up, Dr. Goodman took the time to shake the hand of all the Arrowmen in the room. When he got to Mike, I introduced him as another Californian.
"Oh, how do you do? How do you do?" Dr. Goodman said as he shook his hand. "And how's the wife?"
That playful spirit was still there, even at age 88.
That was August 15, 1979. I don't know if anyone ever had the chance to interview both men together again. Six months later, Dr. Goodman was gone.
The Birth of the Order
Over the years, Col. Edson had developed a very distinct style in how he told about the founding of the Order of the Arrow. I heard him tell the story about half a dozen times, always in almost exactly the same language. It was built up in episodes, where he would lay out the situation, then ask, "Well what to do?" in his clipped New England accent.
The account that follows was drawn largely from my interview with him in 1977, with additions as noted from other sources:
A chum of mine from New York City organized a Scout troop, and I was interested in the letters that he wrote me, so when it came to Christmas vacation, I spent most of my Christmas vacation working with that troop, passing tests and taking them on hikes and so forth. And I did the same thing at Easter vacation. And I did that for the four years I was at college. Well, at that time there was no registration system, but in 1921, when they organized a registration system, they gave me retroactive credit as an Assistant Scoutmaster from 1910.
When I graduated from [Dartmouth] College in 1914, I became Scoutmaster of the troop that I'd been Assistant Scoutmaster of, and then from there I went to Philadelphia and I was on the staff of the Philadelphia Council in 1915 and 1916.
When I got there, Urner Goodman was the senior one of three Field Executives, and he was going to be Director of Treasure Island, and I was to be his Assistant Director.
[Urner] said, "Well now, at Treasure Island we've had for several years an award called Treasure Island Scout or T.I.S. for short, for which boys earn points for identifying so many trees or flowers or birds or stars or what not. If they get a total of so many points, why, then they're given this award of Treasure Island Scout and a little badge that they get to wear on their uniforms." He said, "I think we should have something that is based on recognition of living the Scout Oath and Law, and not just on the mechanics of the program."
Well what to do?
We mulled over that problem for several weeks, and then I had an invitation to hear a talk by Ernest Thompson Seton, who was then the Chief Scout. As a boy I had loved his animal stories, Wild Animals I Have Known, Lives of the Hunted, and so forth, and I went there expecting to hear him tell some animal stories.
But instead of that he told of the fact that he had a summer camp program for some years - I think he called it Woodcraft Indians. And he told of the values that he had in his campfire programs utilizing the symbolism of Indian rituals as a character building device.
[Seton, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, had founded his Woodcraft Indians back in 1902. He chose an Indian motif, he wrote, because "History, logic, and my instincts all pointed one way - the ideal Indian was the cleanest, strongest, manliest, most unsordid type I could find." (Blazes on the Trail, 1928)]
I went back to Urner and I said, "I think that gives us the clue to what we've been looking for." And Urner agreed with me.
Well, we inquired and we found that the Indians that were indigenous to Treasure Island were the Lenni Lenape tribe of the Delaware Indians.
So we were able to get a hold of a copy of an English - Lenni Lenape dictionary, and then we looked up in that to get the Delaware equivalent of the ‘Brotherhood of Cheerful Service' and we came up with Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik Witahemui. [Which he pronounced We - mach - ten - dink, Wing - go - lau - sic, Wit - a - hem - u - ee.] Then we looked up the words for various officers and so forth.
Treasure Island was one of the very few camps at that time which was operated on a troop-unit basis. Troops would come to Treasure Island under their own leadership. And at that time the camp ran on a two-week period basis.
[In my 1979 interview, Col. Edson had more to say about a two-week camp: "I think it is very much better. I don't like the idea of a one-week camp. When a boy goes to camp for one week it takes a couple of days to shake down, and then he gets to go camping for a couple of days, and then a couple of days getting ready to leave. But with two weeks, he has about ten days left to camp. "It's much better," Dr. Goodman agreed.]
So when each troop came to camp we said, "Now, at the close of your camp period here we'd like to have the boys hold a secret election as to what boy has done the most for the success of the troop's encampment in terms of his leadership, spirit, and service." And at the close of the period we had a little tapping out ceremony. And then those boys were lined up and taken down to a little ceremonial ground that we'd set up with a very crude triangular altar, and we conducted a very simple ceremony there.
The boys that were tapped out were lined up with hand on shoulder in a line and in silence taken down the trail. And just before we got to the amphitheatre where we were going to have our ceremony there was a big tree that had fallen across the trail, and they had to get down very low - practically on their hands and knees - in order to be able to get under that. And when they stood up on the other side, they saw the ceremonial ground in front of them.
I don't remember all the details of [the ceremony], but I know that one of the things they did was that they were told to put their arms around a tree. The tree was about five feet across, and they couldn't possibly do that [alone]. They had to have two or three others to join with them. And that was to emphasize cooperation.
And then another thing they were supposed to do was to climb a steep bank, which was too high unless they got some help from somebody to boost them up. There were two or three things of that sort that we did in order to develop certain characteristics.
Then at the close of the camp season, we invited those boys that had gone through this experience to a weekend at Camp Morrell, the Philadelphia weekend camp.
That was perhaps the richest spiritual experience I ever had. The feeling of brotherly love amongst that group of outstanding young men was so powerful that it was extremely moving indeed. And we said, "Now, we asked you boys down here to find out whether you felt that the experience that you had was something that was worth continuing, or whether it was just a flash in the pan that didn't amount to anything."
Well, it wasn't in anybody's mind for an instant a question of if, but only how. So we spent the rest of the weekend discussing the how, and ended up by appointing three committees. There was a committee on constitution and by-laws, a committee on ritual and regalia, and a third committee on insignia, I guess, and so forth. And those committees worked through the winter and came up with their reports.
So in 1916, many members of the staff had been junior staff members the previous year, and were members of the Order. So the camp operated that summer on pretty much the same basis that it does now.
The original [ceremony], of course, was the Ordeal. Then we found that a good many of those who'd been through the Ordeal just didn't carry on from that point. We thought, well, we ought to have something to try to reaffirm their continuing concern in the Order. And so the Brotherhood was developed for that.
[I asked about the "legend" of the Order of the Arrow, as used in the ceremonies.]
As far as I know, it was created. The chairman of the ritual committee was Dr. [William] Hinkle, who was a 32 degree Mason, and so there is naturally a good deal of Masonic flavor in the original ritual as it came out. And how much of the legend has a Masonic background, I don't know. But he was the one that was responsible for developing that.
["Some of the names are James Fenimore Cooper characters," I pointed out.]
Yes, that's right. At the time the Order was founded the Roman Catholic Church was opposed to the Masons, and so they did not approve of the Order at that time. Well, of course, eventually that was overcome, but that was a problem there for a while.
[In some recent online searches, I was amazed to discover that the connections between the OA and Masonry are still controversial - at least in the eyes of some people! As a former member of DeMolay - the Masonic group for young men - I can only add my own opinion that the ritual connection seems to be largely one of form. Both move the candidates around the ritual site during the ceremony, for example. And both divide the speeches up between the different officers.]
The Vigil Honor
That summer [of 1916] I was not spending the summer at Treasure Island, but I was asked to organize a Sea Scout program. A wealthy yachtsman in Philadelphia had had this yacht on the Toms River for years, and he used to take a group of boys out and teach them some seamanship. Well, he decided that that had gotten to be too much of a job for him, and he told the Council, "Now, I'll turn this houseboat over to you if you want to take it and conduct a program of seamanship." So they did that, and I was appointed as director of this Sea Scout program.
[In 1979 Col. Edson explained: "I knew nothing about sailing, but I got a hold of a Naval Petty Officer who knew nothing about Scouting. So we put our two heads together and we developed a series of tests to become an Apprentice Sea Scout, Ordinary Sea Scout, and Able Sea Scout - equivalent approximately to Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class. We could take 24 boys on the boat, and from the time they woke up in the morning until they went to bed at night they were doing nothing but seamanship."]
Then an epidemic came along and we had to close the program a couple of weeks early, and so I went up to Treasure Island for the last period there.
When I got there, I found that the boys, the staff - everyone - were tremendously impressed with the spiritual leadership that Urner Goodman had given to them all summer. And they said, ‘We ought to do something very special for him.'
Well what to do?
So we invented what ultimately became the Vigil Honor. And we sent him up to spend the night at the Tea Table, as it's called - a little rock prominence in the bend of the Delaware River there - to spend the night at a fire in contemplation of a life of service.
When he came back from that, we were going to award him some Indian title that would be characteristic of his qualities. So we asked one of the boys that was going back to Philadelphia to go to the Council Office and look up the Lenni Lenape equivalent of whatever title it was we were going to give Urner.
Well, this was just before we got into the First World War, and the country at that time was very jittery about things. There had been a lot of explosions at munitions factories and ships and so forth, and the country was very anti-German. If anybody sneezed with a German accent he was immediately suspect. Well, it so happened that this English - Lenni Lenape dictionary had been written by German missionaries, and so when they wrote the book there was a good deal of the Germanic guttural in it. Well, the boy went down and picked out the name that we were going to use for Urner and he took it to the telegraph office and the man thought that it was a German code message and he refused to take it!
So he had to argue with him about an hour before he finally got him - against his better judgment - to accept it, and so that's how Urner got his name.
["Which was . . . ?" I asked. "Well, I don't remember off hand now," Col. Edson said. I had no better luck in 1979 when I asked them both what Dr. Goodman's Vigil name was. "I think it was ‘the Strong One,'" Col. Edson said. "I believe it was," Dr. Goodman said, sounding not at all sure. Later I asked Col. Edson what his Vigil name was. "I wouldn't remember," he replied. Dr. Goodman laughed. "I've forgotten it, too," he said. In fact, Dr. Goodman's Vigil name was Nuwingi, the willing one.
In 1979, I got Col. Edson to talk a little about his own Vigil induction. "Sometime during the war period - I guess it was during the fall of 1918 - I was on active duty [in the Army], but I had an opportunity to spend the weekend up at Philadelphia, which I did. Well, of course, Urner had been the first Vigil, you see, so when I was up there for that weekend during the war they gave me the second thing, so I became the second Vigil."
Col. Edson's chronology is at odds with the official version of the history of the Order of the Arrow, which has Dr. Goodman receiving his Vigil at the end of the summer of 1915, and Col. Edson receiving his in the fall of 1916. Still, it's worth noting that he ties the dates to outside events - the 1916 Sea Scout adventure, the local polio epidemic, and his military service during World War I. It is a problem I leave for others to untangle.]
The Order Grows
Urner and I were so enthusiastic about the experience that we had that whenever there was a Scout Executives' conference - regional or national - we would tell other Scout Executives about it. And always there'd be one or two that said, ‘Well that sounds interesting to me.'
So before the encampment broke up - after taps - we'd hold a little private ceremony where we'd induct them into the Order. And then they'd go back to their camps and organize a lodge in their camp the next summer, you see. So it spread slowly that way.
In 1921, I went to Chicago [as a District Executive] and I organized a lodge there in the Chicago camp - Camp Owasippe. By that time there were maybe ten lodges in the country, and we felt that there ought to be some coordinating agency to keep them going in the same direction and not off in ten different directions.
So we called a national meeting in Philadelphia of delegates from each of the lodges, and we organized what we called the Grand Lodge. Urner was the first Grand Chieftan and I was the third Grand Chieftan. And the Grand Lodge continued to run the movement for several years.
A Major Challenge
I think it was in 1922 there was a national Scout Executives' conference, and prior to that the National Office had appointed a number of commissions - one on camping, one on training and leadership, and so forth - and they were to make intense studies of their particular topics and write up detailed reports and have them printed and distributed before the national conference was held.
So then we went down to the conference and we presumably had all read these various reports and knew in general what they said. Then when it came time for the commission's report at the actual conference, the chairman would get up and say anything that he wanted to add beyond the written report.
Well, when I read the report on camping there was one paragraph that was very critical of the Order. And when that report came up the chairman got up there and he said, "Now you've all read this report; there's just one thing that I want to emphasize," he said, "and that is about this secret organization which is totally contrary to the spirit of Scouting, and I move that we go on record as abolishing this movement!"
And I got up and I said, "Are you a member of the Order? Have you ever had it in your camp?"
"Has any member of the commission ever had it in his camp, or been a member, or had any direct contact with it?"
"All right, then how can you be such an authority on something that you admit you know nothing about?"
Then somebody else got up and moved an amendment to soften the tone of his motion, and we debated that for a while. Then Urner put in his two-bits, and the motion was amended again and again. There was a whole series of amendments toning it down until the motion finally said, "We are opposed to anything which is contrary to the spirit of Scouting." It didn't mention the Order at all. And that passed by a bare majority.
[A short hand record of the meeting was made and later published. It varies a little bit from Col. Edson's recollections, but the tone is the same. Scout Executive J.D. Wadleigh of Worcester, Massachusetts, speaking for the Commission on Camping, called for a policy on "camp fraternities or secret organizations," which, he added, were "usually disapproved according to reports from all over the country." Scout Executive A.W. Beeny of Stamford, Connecticut then moved "that camp fraternities be discouraged in connection with Boy Scout camps."
Dr. Goodman was first on his feet, asking that the people who actually have such groups in their camps should have the opportunity to say something about it, to "make plain to all who have not tried out the plan the value of such an undertaking." A general discussion ensued.
G.B. Stephenson, the Scout Executive from Chicago, rose to say, "I have a man on my staff who has tried it and he sold it to the rest of us and we are for it. I would like to hear from Carroll Edson."
Col. Edson rose and said, "For eight seasons now I have been connected with a camp honor society which has proved of such wonderful help in the Council where it was first started that it has since been organized in a number of other cities as well, where it is proving equally valuable.... [W]e can effectively use ceremony and symbolism in furthering Scout ideals of personal service...."
The "W.W.W." (as he called it) "is a service organization, using the form of ceremony and symbolism which has a very definite appeal to the boy and which has proved of great value both in camp and throughout the year ... in promoting Scout ideals."
Some of the executives present feared camp fraternities would become a clique, or that camps were just adding more and more things to the established Scouting program.
The original motion was finally softened a little, in the sense that "fraternities" were still "discouraged" - unless they were found to be a "good scheme" that would not harm the larger program or exclude certain boys from membership.
You can still hear the echoes of this in the first OA Handbook (1950), which clearly states the Order is not a "fraternity" and that membership is based on a democratic vote of all the Scouts in a unit, "Thus it should always be impossible to operate any Lodge as a self-sustaining clique."]
Then Mr. West, the Chief Scout Executive, got up and he said, "I'd like to have all members of the Order meet me at my headquarters immediately after the close of this meeting."
So we went up there; and Urner was there, and I was there, and Arthur Schuck, who subsequently became Chief Scout Executive, was there, and the Scout Executive of Baltimore [W.P. Bradley], who was an outstanding man, was there. And Mr. West said, "Well, I wanted to call this meeting to find out whether the people in this Order knew what Scouting was really all about," he said, "But I can't ask that of this group. There's just one thing that I do ask," he said, "that is that you don't push the organization as such, but just let it rise or fall on its merits."
And we thought that was entirely a sound position, so we agreed.
But that did, of course, give a great deal of publicity to the movement, and it began to spread quite rapidly after that.
Then after a while [in 1934], the National Office took it over as part of the National program, and eventually [in 1948] they took it under their own jurisdiction and appointed an Executive Secretary. And so the National Office of the Boy Scouts was actually in charge of the program, there was no more need of a Grand Lodge. So the Grand Lodge was abolished. But that meeting of the National Executives' Conference was the critical point in my judgment.
[Dr. Goodman agreed. In 1979 he told me: "We had something to build on there, and it was all on the positive side in the days to come and there was no more trouble. And one after another we would find [other camps] had some attempt to have an organization, but when they found our set up they would reach for that, and it began to spread on a larger scale and with the agreement of the national organization."]
Growth and Change
["When you were going around talking at national meetings and such," I asked Col. Edson in 1977, "did you really believe it would become this big?"]
We didn't originally visualize a national movement at all. We developed something that we thought was helpful to the situation at a particular camp at a particular time. And we were so enthusiastic about the results that we had there that the thing just spread from there on.
Of course there are some changes that I regret. For instance, it used to be that when a person became a Brotherhood member that the sash was changed from the left shoulder to the right shoulder. I thought that was a rather nice little part of the ritual, and I regretted when they made that particular change.
[Originally, there was only one style of sash, worn on the different shoulders to signify Ordeal or Brotherhood. Even after the Brotherhood bars were added and the ceremony changed, some of the old language had survived. Hence the answer to the question, Have you seen the Arrow?]
And there used to be much greater emphasis on secrecy than there is now. For instance, you take the name Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik, Witahemui - people were simply given the initials, W.W.W., but what they were that they represented was not supposed to be known outside of the Order. So there was a good deal of emphasis on secrecy. Well, then that was gradually modified and anybody who had a legitimate reason for wanting to know could be told what various things stood for.
© Phil Brigandi