Friday, March 6, 2009

BROWNIE LESSONS FOR LIFE


(The picture above was taken when I was a "Pixie". Something created by my mother when my older sister was a Brownie Girl Scout and I was too young to be in the Troop. About 1965)

I spent a little bit of time out shopping today and I had a truly wonderful time! I brought home some amazing treasures…some to sell (“whoo hoo” for you!) and some to keep (and another "whoo hoo” for me) and even met up with an old friend. Peter and I talked and laughed for a bit and thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about the days when we shared a space at an Antique Mall here in Oklahoma City. I’d forgotten how much I liked him! Pete showed me around and we chatted until the busyness of the store called for his attention…

Left alone to wander about I found myself eagerly walking down each aisle and visiting every booth. Weaving through a maze of interesting old finds and quite a bit of junk, my eyes were looking for the “good stuff”. However, while moseying slowly down the last row my eyes fixed upon something I hadn’t seen in years. A Brownie Beanie like the one I wore during my Girl Scout days. I was instantly, frightfully pulled me back in time. Back to the worst days of my childhood…back to being eight years old and attending elementary school on the Texas Coast. Back to third grade life and sitting under a wench of a teacher named Miss P…back to the year 1967…back to living life in a parsonage built on top of a church…and…back to the year I met Delores.

You can ask me a million questions about being a “Brownie”, but all I truly can remember is the copper-roofed church (Moody Memorial Methodist) where we had our Troop meetings and the little girl who was born without legs and with only one arm…

It was during a year of great childhood want, the closest I ever hope to come to knowing and understanding real poverty, I first recall learning about the physical disabilities of others. My family had precious little during the months we lived in Galveston and it must have been sacrificial for my parents to even allow me to participate in Scouting. The dues alone would have bought a loaf of bread back then and the cost of providing a full uniform must have been impossible to bear…to this day I don’t know where mine came from...

Delores and I were in the same Troop and as I walked towards the stately church for our weekly Scout meetings she would roll her wheelchair along side of me. My mother insisted on starching my dress and my orange tie. My brownie socks, coin purse, belt and beanie were expected to be neatly in place as well (we might have been poor, but we were “neat-poor” if that makes sense!). One spring day as we hurried to the church I noticed how Delores’ uniform always seemed wrinkled and how she would never have a need for socks… This certainly set my childhood heart to wondering…

One spring day in particular caused much excitement for our little Troop of ten. We donned long-hair wigs and dressed up as like the Fab-Four (The Beatles) for an amusing, fanciful skit performed for fellow Brownie Troop members in the City. When it was over I recall us all being in a panic to sort out our mixed up uniforms before heading back towards our school and homes…

Delores was particularly upset because she couldn’t find her Beanie. She was after all, by all appearances, even poorer than me, and loosing any part of your uniform was cause for great trouble! She wheeled herself closer to me as I put on my socks and black Mary Jane shoes. When I wasn’t looking, with her one good arm she picked up my Beanie, and began to place it on top of her head…

I quickly grabbed it away and screamed out~

“It’s mine! Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it!”



I don’t remember much after that except running as fast as I could to our modest home in hopes of convincing my mother to wash my Beanie.

“MY BEANIE! MY BEANIE!" I cried out to my mother! "You have to wash my Beanie?”

“Wash your Beanie” she said? “But WHY?”

Through my tears I blurted out “Delores touched it!”

It was then my loving mother explained to me about the sufferings of Delores as she knew more about her history than I did. “Her mother was given some dangerous medicine* while she was waiting for Delores to come into the world…this caused her to be born without arms and legs. Touching and playing with her won’t hurt you, Becky! I promise” she said. “Don’t be afraid! She’s just like you and she needs you as a friend!” (*Thalidomide)

As I stood in the Antique Shoppe turning the Beanie over and over in my hands my thoughts turned once again to the little girl who had so greatly impacted my life. I couldn’t help but remember the wise and timely words of my mother, and how grateful I felt for having been spared such suffering…

I bought the Beanie for eight bucks. A small price to pay for a gentle reminder that love and kindness offered up to others is always in order. When our sweet Miss K is over next I'm going to set aside a little time to chat. I plan on sharing with her the story of Delores and passing along the words of wisdom voiced from her aging, but ever lovely great-grandmother...

“…you should practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others…Most of all let love guide your life…” Colossians 3:12, 14 (TLB)


Blessings as you do good unto others…Rebecca

16 comments:

IsabellasCloset said...

Rebecca, Oops! Looks like you already have received this award but that's Ok you need another :-}
Please stop by my blog, I have another well deserved award for you.
I love your blog & all your creativity!
Thanks....
Hugs & Blessings ~Mary~ :-}

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Rebecca, Thank you for sharing this memorable experience with us. A great reminder for all and a wonderful nostalgic story of a little girl learning about the world and kindness.

A Stitch In Thyme said...

I can't tell you in how many ways this post has touched me to the core of my soul for many reasons.

I've tried several time to write further than the initial sentence only to realize typing through tears is difficult at best and down right impossible at worst.

I have been Delores for 38 years. Friends, family, strangers.. it doesn't matter. If one doesn't understand what another human being is going through it is often met with fear, isolation or ignorance. I have personally been subjected to all.

You were just a child when this happened and God's lesson was ever present. God's will has come to fruition all these years later for you continuosly to share with others.

I'm delores again with my auto-immune disorders. People fear what they don't know or slight the sufferer. I assure you, most of us don't want pity. Quite the opposite. We want understanding, love, affection and so on just like the rest. Family, friends & strangers alike sometimes don't realize how words and actions can hurt so much.

You were a mere child. Your mother taught you right Bless her heart and you grew into a prophet of the moment to share with us your story. May Bless you and yours today for you've touched my heart so very personally.

Lee Laurie said...

Dear Rebecca,
Your story has really touched my heart this morning. It brought back memories of when I was a little girl. We were poor also. Mom and daddy divorced when I was 13 and even before that they were separated for a couple of years. I hated the act that I didn't have the things like designer clothes,shoes,etc. like the other girls at school had. I would get so excited when someone would give us kids a trashbag full of hand me down clothes! It was like Christmas to me!

I love that cabinet that you bought! It is going to be beautiful! I love old pieces like that. They are so much prettier than the new stuff! So much more character!


I will be thinking about your story all day today at work and I will remember to be extra kind to everyone that I see and talk to.

Love,
Lee Laurie

That picture of you is adorable!

Cherub Kisses Boutique said...

There is a reason for everything... and for every single person who comes onto this blog! Your graciousness & sweet spirit are illuminous in so many ways ♥
Your light is so needed. May all who visit you replenish their weary souls. I am definitely blessed by your post today.

chicroses said...

Hi Rebecca, WOW! your story is so sweet. Who knows why as children we do the things we do.
When I was about 9 we had relatives visit from Louisiana..with their only child (my cousin)which I liked him very much. My other cousin and I decided to take his cowboy hat (which they had bought him on their trip to Wash.state.)and we cut it up and we buried it. Why we did that I have no clue. The only thing I can think of was because he was an only child and his mother dotted on him. But we liked him alot...my aunt and uncle fussed over that hat and looked for it a few days.I never admitted I and my other cousin did it. Well I have an only child...does that say something? I had growing up an uncle that had down syndrome. I was always good to him as a child..go figure.
By the way I was a girl scout. Was kind of fun. I dont know how my parents could afford the uniform either. Sally
www.chicroses-chicroses.blogspot.com

~tea girl~ said...

Sweet friend ~r~,
I've aleady shared with you my Delores story ..BUT, we all as Christians, need to remember, that Jesus Christ came into this world to save us from this sinful,hurting corrupt world.. He is our light, and true hope.. God is good, and makes each one of us perfect in HIS sight, for whatever reasons, our sicknesses,our physical apperances, and shortfallings.. May we all remember to be kind and loving each day to everybody, and know, we might be the only light or sunshine they see today.. I think we all become so self consumed, and hurried, we need to slow down, and make a difference to someone new each day.. It could be a life changing moment for someone.. A smile and hug is FREE, and we can all use one, and give one each day.. ..What an awesome heartfelt post again ~r~... darn you for making me cry again.. Keep our hearts and eyes looking heavenward, and His ways to become our own .. He is our light and sonshine, and we need to continue to live always with love, and kindness.. Gosh, it all goes back to what we learned in kindergarten..Loving..kindness..sharing..mmmm.. You inspire me my friend..
To the moon ~tea~xo

Sharon said...

What a sweet story. God bless your mother for teaching you right. Have you ever heard from Delores again? I wonder how her life ended up? I think you are wise to share your story.

Love, Sharon

Anonymous said...

Becky--

I had almost forgotten about this story until you reminded me.

Only by the "Grace of God" were you spared the lot of Delores. I had terrible morning sidkness during my pregnancy with you, but your dad and I didn't have the funds for the meds to ease the discomfort. It was a Blessing in disgise -- If I had taken it, you would have most likely been born with serious birth defects.

Thanks for sharing this post. There are NEW lessons to be learned every day.

Love you-- Mom

Rebecca said...

To Sharon...We only lived in Galveston for about 9 months, returning in less than a year to the familiar surrounding of my childhood home. I do not know what came of Delores :(... Sadly, I don't even know her last name. Thanks for sharing...

To Mom...I will never forget the day of your loving instruction. I was so afraid I'd lose my legs and arms because I didn't understand Delores' disability wasn't contagious. Childhood fears can be so frightening! Thank you for being there for me then...and now. I love you...B

Mary H said...

Rebecca:) Yes, sometimes these lessons are learned many years later...believe me we all have things from our past like that, that we wish were different...thank you for sharing your heart. I love how your other "blog ladys" have shared...Your Mother is very wise and so is her daughter. These are good stories and lessons to pass onto our posterity...
(cute little uniform)..:) Mary

Mary H said...

Rebecca:) Yes, sometimes these lessons are learned many years later...believe me we all have things from our past like that, that we wish were different...thank you for sharing your heart. I love how your other "blog ladys" have shared...Your Mother is very wise and so is her daughter. These are good stories and lessons to pass onto our posterity...
(cute little uniform)..:) Mary

A Romantic Porch said...

That is so touching! What a great lesson. Your "pixie" picture is adorable. xo rachel

Sandra~Romantique Inspirations~ said...

Rebecca, You were just a little girl that didn't understand, and of course you have a wonderful mother who set you straight. You are blessed having parents that knew how to raise you upright. I can't even imagine not having parents like that. We are the fortunate ones! My heart breaks for the others. We need to pray for them.

I must say you were a CUTIE-PIE ..... I do remember my years as a brownie.

You are a True Delight!

lucy said...

Wonderful story... I totally understand neat poor. My siblings and I were also neat poor, but really did not know. Yet, so many wonderful things came from growing up that way. MOST of all, is the confidence that no matter what happens, we know how little we really need to be happy. If were get down to two days of clothing, we will "have joy in so little wash" :-).
As a parent, it was difficult to try and provide this experience for my own children. If things really get tough, it will be harder for the children, because they really have not done without for long periods of time.

ceekay said...

Your story reminded me so of one similar my Daddy told me when I ran home crying that the kids were making fun of me. My dad passed aways just a few years later, but what he told me as I sobbed into my bed has stayed with me all these years. If I could quit crying, I would probably make more sense, but thank you for the blessing of a memory.

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