Apr 11, 2007

On My Honor

I will try
to serve God,
my country,
and mankind,
and to live by the Girl Scout Law.

And so said I, every Tuesday, with my right hand upraised in the Girl Scout sign.

I joined GSUSA as a Brownie in second grade (they didn't have Daisies then nor were first graders considered old enough yet - much has changed). I remained a girl scout till I left for college. And, I suppose, at heart, I still consider myself a girl scout.

I remember making butter by shaking cream in a jar seemingly interminably, as a Brownie. I remember us putting on a Fly Up play for the Brownies that came after us, once we were ever so old and wise Juniors. I chose the name Priscilla for my character - it just seemed so fun and girly whereas Kelley was just not feminine in the slightest (we had a boy in our grade whose name was Kelly). I remember making felt ice skate ornaments with paperclips for the blades - they are still proudly hung on my Christmas tree every year.

I remember being so frustrated when camping - my mother was one of our troop leaders and, whenever some scout bagged out on her duty, guess who got to do it for her. I still think this is immensely unfair. My mother wasn't much liked in our troop - she didn't let people get away with much and she was rather sharp-tongued and bossy about it. My dad, who went camping with us, was much beloved.

I remember sleeping with Cynthia Her-Last-Name-I-Can't-Remember in a tent at Mendon Ponds and it pouring pitchforks and hammer handles. Our tent leaked and her side flooded. I remember her trying to climb into my nice dry sleeping bag with me - humph! I remember our patrol trying to bake pigs in a blanket over a fire on another camping trip. A fruitless effort until my dad finally suggested (gently) we consider using their reflector oven and not try to do it like they were corn dogs or something. It did work much better. (Thanks, Dad!)

We didn't just camp. My Juniors troop went to Niagara Falls, my Cadette Troop went to Albany, and, best of all, my Seniors troop went to Cape Cod. What fun that was.

Not so fun was the grudge Mrs. Kuhn had against my mother that she took out on me. Mrs. Kuhn's daughter wasn't all that inclined to do as she was instructed in juniors and we've already demonstrated my mother isn't one to take that lightly. Mrs. Kuhn was one of those "my child does no wrong" kind of people and I think you can guess the rest. This came to a head when I was working on my Gold Award project. I had submitted a proposal and Mrs. Kuhn, as my advisor (lucky me) said, "terrific - that will do it for sure". Well, I completed the project and the council firmly rejected it. So, for the first time, I discovered that grownups, too, could be petty as she wanted her daughter to get an award that I didn't so as to get back at my mom. I got "held back," so to speak, and watched most of the rest of my troop get their Gold Awards from the sidelines.

I *loved* the other two of our three leaders for my senior troop - one in particular. Mrs. Schueler. Mrs. Schueler, God rest her soul as she unfortunately passed away a few years ago, was a very sweet lady who liked me a lot and understood I just wanted to be liked but wasn't of a temperment to be liked by other teenagers. She understood thatMrs. Kuhn didn't like me and she tried to make up for it. She was a saint in human garb and made a big difference in my scouting life. She took over as my Gold Award advisor and I got the award my senior year. (In case you're curious, I created a puppet show to teach kids about reading music, recruited junior and cadette girl scouts to man the puppets as part of a Music badge and took it to our district's elementary schools.)

In high school, I was lucky enough to get a campership to go to National Center West for 2 weeks. National Center West is in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, population 320 (at the time). I had never been in an airport so big (Chicago, Denver) or so small (Worland, WY). I remember that I had been supposed to change in Pittsburgh but there was a thunderstorm that hit their tower so we were re-routed through O'Hare. I had no layover - well, about 3 minutes. The businessman who was sitting next to me and who was continuing on to wherever the plane was going next, debarked with me, and talked to the gate agent to get them to hold my flight as I ran through the airport in my girl scout uniform. He also gave me his newspaper to read. (Thank you, whoever you were; I really appreciated (and still do) your help.)

But my most ubiquitous girl scout memory is the songs - oh the singing. I think the part I remember, love, and miss the most is the singing. From The Brownie Smile to the Comstock Camp Song, Music Alone Shall Live, Make New Friends, Taps, song after song after song will live in my heart until the day they put me in the ground.

On my honor,
I will try
to serve God,
my country,
and mankind,
and to live by the Girl Scout Law.

All in all, not such a bad creed.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Jade said...

I never made it to girlscouts. I was in bluebirds and still have my uniform in a box in the garage :) My mom pulled me out when my sibling decided she didn't want to do it anymore. But I remember the songs.
My two favorites:

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light
Starboard is green and port is flashing red
I can see the signals far ahead.
Barges I would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges have you treasures in your hold
do you fight with pirates brave and bold?


and

Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold

12:40 AM  
Blogger peppypilotgirl said...

I love that song (we did it in scouts too)!

...silently flows the river to the sea
and the barges, too, go silently...

10:43 AM  
Blogger Greta said...

this is an awesome post....i was a girl scout also...but i tend to shut out my past

8:28 PM  
Blogger smileymamaT said...

Wowzers. Talk about memories! I went Brownies all the way to 8th grade. My mom was the scout leader! We really camped too, in the mountains and woods. I had a zillion badges...I remember the songs!
"So I'll take it out,
and put it on,
it's a great big Brownie smile!"
Wow.

9:27 PM  
Blogger JerseyTjej said...

I was a Scout leader for a minute but the parents were using me for a sitting service and would not pick up the kids on time...Great post! I can remember songs I learned in school as far back as the second grade! I have been wracking my brain about a song regarding "a frog went a courting he did ride...sword and pistol by his side " ... but cannot remember it for the life of me.

6:01 AM  

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