This would, I suspect, be a more interesting entry if the dogs hadn't eaten my old photo albums a year or so ago. But when I think back on it, I think there was a gap in my mother's photo taking, until I got my own camera. I think there is a void that encompasses my scouting years.
Yes, it's that time again, when all the little Girl Scouts (and their mothers) are out pedaling goodies and all of the people dieting are going to buy a box or two or three, because it's a good cause...and then nibble in carefree fashion (I remember from those days when I was dieting).
Things are quite different now than they were in my day. Now mothers go to their friends, their co-workers and their Facebook page and solicit buyers for their daughters' cookies.
In my day, our troop ordered the cookies and distributed them to each Scout, and then we went door to door trying to sell them. Seems to me we had quotas we had to fill. I was absolutely rotten as a door to door salesgirl.
It boggles my mind in light of all we know about predators today that I so often went out with goodies to sell. Cookies...Christmas seals...whatever else we were selling to raise money for our school or for a club (or, for that matter, trick or treating at Halloween). Nobody thought at all about the possible danger of some nefarious character waiting to lure me into his home to do unspeakable things to me. Or if they did, I certainly wasn't aware of it. (Or maybe I was only allowed to go to the doors of people we knew....I don't remember my parents going with me on any of my selling gigs)
It was easier in my day because we didn't have a dozen choices of cookies to offer. We may only have had the shortbread. I don't remember when thin mint became part of the choice and whether I actually sold two flavors of Girl Scout cookies, or only the one.
I remember that someone got the bright idea that I should set up a stand by the bus stop at the corner near our house and sell to people as they got off the bus. I'm sure I was very cute, but I had no salesmanship. In fact, the man who lived upstairs over our flat came up to try to give me pointers in how I should approach strangers passing my stand.
Lord how I hated selling anything! (Still do.)
But I enjoyed being a Scout. When I was a Brownie, our leader was my friend Marie Davilla's mother. She worked as a housekeepr for a Victorian mansion near our grammar school and we would go to the mansion for our meetings. I remember being in the big kitchen making peanut butter cookies (all my happiest memories seem to involve baking!) and being in the yard smelling the wonderful little pink roses that lined the path from the back door of the kitchen out to the street.
Somewhere in this house I also have the 78 rpm record that we made the day that we each recorded a song onto a record we could bring home to keep. I remember Mrs. Davilla sitting on the floor with a record player, a blank 78 record, and a big brush, and brushing off bits of material as our voices were cut into the grooves of the record. (I don't think that in the late 1940s records were made of vinyl yet -- probably shellac. They were hard and heavy--and shattered if dropped.) Of course I can't play 78s any more, so it doesn't do me any good to look for it!
After we had our "fly up" ceremony and turned in our Brownie Scout uniforms for our green Girl Scout uniforms, Mrs. Davilla was no longer our Scout Leader and that task was taken on my Mrs. Lucchesi (my friend Judy's mother) and Mrs. Ciccerone (my friend Michelle's mother).
I don't remember a lot of the activities we did as Girl Scouts (other than continuing to sell the damn cookies), but each year we put on a variety show for our parents in a rustic cabin located in the middle of San Francisco. Someone had given it for the use of the Scouts and I think Scouting troops all over the city used it for various things.
We did skits and lip-synched to songs and I even had a solo in one of the shows once. Not sure why. I thought I had a great voice, but I didn't really.
But the number I remember most vividly was "Heart." Michelle's mom decided we would do it as a barbershop quartet number and as I recall we wore straw hats, bow ties and big paper moustaches as we lip synched to the record.
I was never comfortable on stage. I went through terrible stage fright and shook like I had palsy whenever I had to actually perform in front of an audience. So you can imagine how I felt as I continued going through the motions and realized that my moustache was coming off. As I began to sweat with nervousness about being on stage and embarrassment about what was happening with my moustache, it made it worse because the sweat made the moustache behave even more erratically.
I never had the presence of mind to just take the damn thing off and hold it, but continued gamely and ended the number with the moustache at a rakish angle, hanging over my mouth. I wanted to sink into the floor and die. It's one reason why, through all the years of their performing on stage, my admiration for my kids has never waivered. I remember how awful it was for me--always--to be on stage and I don't know where those exhibitionists children of ours came from!
I seem to have missed the opportunity to buy cookies from Ned's nieces this year, but I know that there will be Girl Scouts set up outside of supermarkets, so lots of opportunity to buy the terribly overpriced cookies.I'll be looking for the ones with peanut butter inside of them...