A few days ago I had a Twitter conversation with my good friend morning Radio Host @PVarga about our Scouting days. I told him laughingly that one day I’d write some blog posts about my experiences with Scouts — he’d probably enjoy my stories. He begged me (yes you did Paul) to recount my glory days and so here is Installment One of Linda: Girl Scout Wannabe…or It All Started Out With the Camp Fire Girls.
When I was a kid, I heard some girls at school talking about Camp Fire Girls and how this ‘club’ included camp outings, special outfits and if you did good things, you acquired neat stuff like beads, certificates and pins you could put on a special uniform you wore. Oh yeah…beads. Oooh, they had me at shiny.
Well, of course, I wanted to be a part of this Camp Fire Girl thing. Turns out I was too young — I had to join the pre-Camp Fire Girl group known as Blue Birds. I’m not making this up — they were called Blue Birds. My parents bought into the whole thing…uniform with special socks, shoes, a yellow bandana (if memory serves and this was way back in the Pleistocene Era mind you) and a blue skirt and I think a shirt w/a blue vest (but it could have been red, I dunno). Crap, don’t make me stab my brain so hard for details; I could be off on some of the colors, but a lot was blue, ok? Oh yeah, there was a beanie involved too. It looked pitiful on this little fat kid and I loved every piece of it dearly.
Blue Birds wasn’t the lark I thought it would be. You didn’t get to earn beads or pins by being good little girls or going on camping outings. Oh no — we had to work our proverbial little blue bird butts off. Our thing? Selling peanuts door to door. It was a partnership. Two Blue Birds would take these massive boxes filled with containers of peanuts and knock on residential doors, look pitiful and ask the lady of the house (hey, remember this was the June and Ward Cleaver era) to please buy some peanuts to help us fund a trip to Lumpdidump, South Dakota or somewhere equally interesting.
It had been an excruciating day at school. I ran home (okay I waddled about two blocks) and changed into my Blue Bird outfit. My Blue Bird partner arrived and off we went to canvas the neighborhood with our humongous box of peanuts. We went door to door. We sold some peanuts here and some peanuts there. Mostly we were turned away. We widened our territory by a few more blocks and kept knocking on doors. We sold some more peanuts. The box was getting heavy and we were tired, sweaty, hungry little Blue Birds. It was getting late; already past dinner time. We had to do something with these peanuts because the leader told us we had to get rid of them. We needed to lighten the load, so to speak.
So being the smart second-graders we were, we put our collective Blue Bird heads together. It was dinner time. We were hungry and probably a half mile away from my house. We did the only logical thing possible. We sat our Blue Bird bottoms down at the end of somebody’s sidewalk, opened our box, and proceeded to eat our way through tons of peanuts. Maybe I should explain we were really, really hungry. Come on…it was hard work for little kids.
Arriving home to very upset parents with peanut salt all over my face and dragging a box with a few peanut containers still left in it, I got the whipping of my life (well one of them anyway). Okay, so I did stay out way past the time I should have been home but we didn’t have cell phones then…sheesh.
Little did I know the real trouble was just ahead. The next day when I reported to our leader that we couldn’t sell all the peanuts and we had to eat some, she called my parents for the “big conversation.” That night I got another spanking for eating so many of the peanuts. Seems Dad had to pay for all of the ones we ate and didn’t sell and he was not real happy about that. Oh, and I was summarily drummed out of the Blue Birds, never to get a bead, a certificate, or a pin, and never to become a true Camp Fire Girl.
To this day I’m not overly fond of peanuts…sigh…