No, no.  Not THAT kind of brownies.

Although, chocalotta-yum.

The Brownies I’m referring to are of the Lord Baden Powell ilk.  The step before “flying up” to Girl Guides.  The step after Sparks.  Little girls in tams and carefully-tied kerchief knots, brown knee socks and real leather pouches attached to their belts.

Me, wearing my brownie uniform

Check out that Coppertone fridge!

Do little girls even wear knee socks anymore or go to sleep chanting “left over right and under, right over left and over”?

Brownie troops used to be divided into sub-groups of fairy folk including gnomes, sprites, pixies, elves, fairies and leprechauns.  My mom recently gave me my Brownie Record, which she had saved since I was a Leprechaun, way back in the ’70s.   

The Brownie Record c. 1976

My career as a Brownie, recorded for posterity.

I remember chanting our little group’s song (sung at the beginning of each Brownie gathering), while secretly wishing to be a fairy.

We’re the Irish leprechaun, 
Guiding strangers when forlorn.

I didn’t particularly want to “guide strangers when forlorn”; I was much too shy for that.  And, my seven-year-old self never understood why the leprechaun badge depicted a red, leaping figure.  Shouldn’t “Irish” leprechauns have been green?

The Brownie Promise

Check out those frolicking sprites lending a hand and being cheerful and obedient!

It’s quite an amusing little time capsule, the Brownie Record.

Apparently I passed the test of reciting “the meaning of the Smile and Good Turn” and I was able to “brush and comb my own hair” (although you wouldn’t know it from some of my pictures).   Ditto for “Sew two types of buttons on actual garments” and “skip twenty times backwards without a break.”

Really?  I, the life-long klutz, could skip backwards?!

The Golden Bar

Such a lot of work to earn The Golden Bar

In November 1976, I accomplished the feat of “keep your room tidy for two weeks” (I apparently lost that skill during the ’80s) and in December, “clean a pair of shoes”.  By December 1977, I had progressed to “Wrap, tie firmly and address neatly a parcel for mailing.”

Such an important life skill.  I wonder who was the lucky recipient of my wrapped, tied and neatly-addressed parcel?

The Golden Bar continued

Along with the Brownie Record, there were also a couple of badges, presumably removed from my uniform after it was passed on.  Imagine my surprise when I found the Outdoors badge.  I don’t remember the details about earning this badge and I’m pretty sure it involved more than what was written in my brownie record.  That is, “Discover and observe three interesting things in the out-of-doors and tell your pack why they are interesting to you.

You may recall how I feel about The Nature.

Lovely to look at.  
Beautiful to behold.  
But I find it rather buggy 
And either sweaty or too cold.

Just a little poem I wrote, inspired by The Nature.  I am a regular Leprechaun Emily Dickinson, aren’t I?

A Leprechaun Emily Dickinson with an Outdoors badge.  Haha!

Brownie badge

This might be my proudest accomplishment: proof that I was in The Nature.

All this talk about brownies.  I need one now.  Not the Lord Baden Powell type.

The warm-from-the-oven type.


Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.