Working for Peanuts…No, Really

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…

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8 thoughts on “Working for Peanuts…No, Really

  1. I was just thinking that maybe the reason we get peanuts on the airplanes is because the owners must have had a daughter in the Blue Birds who was an awesome salesgirl.

    I think I was a Brownie for a while but never made it all the way to a Girl Scout, mostly because we moved so much and by the time we settled down I had lost interest in it. Maybe that had something to do with me joining the Army, lets face it, that is the ultimate Girl Scout.

    And the story was just as funny the second time around.

    God bless.

    huh? Your story or mine? Pls tell me I haven’t told this story before – you know I have a terrible case of CRS! LOL I have Girl Scout memories to share too but they’ll wait for another day. One can only tell so many really bad stories before her 19 faithful readers run away! ack 😉 xoxo Happy Valentines Day!

  2. Eating peanuts was the only logical thing to do. I never joined any of the Girl Scout clubs, but I do remember selling boxes of thin mints for the YMCA. (Can’t for the life of me remember what I was selling them for.) Now, those stinkin’ boxes were heavy. Luckily for my dad, it never occured to me to eat them. Ha! Maybe it was because I knew I would get the spanking of a lifetime if I did!
    LOL it made sense to us at the time!

  3. I was a Blue Bird and a Camp Fire Girl. We sold boxes of candy, which generally went pretty well. The point was to earn money for camp, which was a blast. I have photos from camp, but I also have a photo of my Blue Bird troop.

    The vests were blue, by the way. The Camp Fire ones were felt, and the beads were wooden and really, really cool. I loved the beads. That vest with the beads is one of the few things I got rid of and wish I had back – not for any good reason. Just that the beads were so cool. I have three beads that never got sewn on – red, and triangular.

    My Blue Bird troop
    i truly hate you at this moment – u even remember the vests were felt. gah… j/k 😉

  4. I, too, was a Blue Bird and then a Camp Fire Girl. I HATED “nuts and mints” time. And yes, I pilfered the goods and my parents had to pay for what I ate and then they garnished my allowance (.50 a week) until the amount was paid off.

    I wish I still had my vest, which was laden with beads because I was all about the beads, baby! Door-to-door sales? Not so much.
    I never got a bead and it has traumatized me for life. Beadless in a sea of floating merit. sigh…I need professional help. gah

  5. My name is Heidi and I was a Brownie, then a Girl Scout. I confess to misreading my cookie delivery thingie and giving out the wrong cookies to the wrong people and my mom, the troop leader, had to take me around and try to make things right. Yes, involved mom buying more cookies to get to those who actually wanted the cookies they ordered–those that I mistakenly gave to someone else–who didn’t know the diff and ate them anyway! Kinda jonesin’ for a box of Savannahs now…..
    Hi Heidi! Welcome to our 12-step program for recovering Blue Birds, Camp Fire Girls, Brownies, and Girl Scouts. Now gimme the Samoas or I spill… rofl snort

  6. I was both a Brownie and then a Girl Scout. I didn’t want to be but Mom was a troop leader. Therefore, it was expected that I follow in my 3 older sisters’ footsteps like it or not. I hated sellling cookies and never did get to go to GS camp–we moved the year I was supposed to go.
    I am so traumatized by all the experiences that I still am not comfortable “joining” groups of any kind – including a book club. Especially if they serve peanuts. j/k lol

  7. Step 1. With the aid of other recovering Bluebirds, Campfire Girls, Brownies and Girl Scouts, research and discover what sort of wine, margarita or martini one pairs with Samoas or Savannahs or any other GS cookie.
    Step 2. Design a badge with the recipe and image for the drink from Step 1.
    Step 3. Distribute Mardi Gras Beads, in lieu of Campfire Girl Beads.
    Step 4. Create a craft that incorporates Mardi Gras Beads, barware and cookie crumbs.
    Steps 5-12 ????
    Remain at Step 1 — who needs the other 11 steps? bwahahahahaha… hic…

  8. I remember those days. I was a Blue Bird myself. I think when I sold candy, they moved on to including almond rocha and peppermint patties with the peanuts. Still, it was hard work. None of that “cookies sell themselves” publicity from the Girl Scouts. No, use Birds had to work.
    It’s one of my more vivid ugly memories…early childhood failure…fortunately I developed a rousing sense of humor early in life as a defense mechanism… ROFL

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