Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Spring may be officially here, but it’s cold and rainy today. A good time to go through the spare room closet and get bring some fresh order to the organizational entropy that has occurred in there over time. In the process I looked through one box that had a lot of family memorabilia, and found my old Girl Scout uniform sash. I think that’s where my love affair with patches began. And even after all these decades, I still feel cheated out of the last three Girl Scout “badges” I earned and never got because (for some reason now lost to time) our troop disbanded before I could actually get them in my hot little hands. I don’t even remember what they were for; I just remember I didn’t get them!

There’s my city (Detroit) and troop number, and a red Cardinal at the top. Perhaps that was the troop mascot. Cardinals have been a kind of totemic bird for me throughout my life, so it wouldn’t surprise me. Then there are some pins and other insignia, and then the good stuff – the badges! I can see I had a tent (camping skills, no doubt), a treble clef (music), a jar of tools (do-it-yourself for beginners?), a Scottie dog head on a red Maltese cross (I think that was pet care), a fishfly (insect identification), an painter’s palette (art), and lastly, a shoe and pumpkin for…I’m almost certain this had something to do with learning “good grooming” – 1950s style. Probably involved pin curls, and cold cream. No wonder I’ve blocked it out. I used to watch my mother put that lard-look-alike stuff on her face every night, and when she playfully put some on my face, I immediately detested it. That alone should earn a girl a badge – for not gagging! Anyway, the choice to use the Cinderella references seems kind of bizarre to me today. Personally, I’d rather clean out the hearth after a nice crackling fire than go to a ball any day of the week.

When I was in high school I had a ski jacket with patches from all the various Michigan ski hills I went to with my girlfriends. Skiing always scared me a little, to be honest. I’m not a speed person. In winter I’m the one out with snowshoes with a camera. So I was glad to leave skiing behind after graduation. I only did it under peer pressure, to hang with my friends, and for the patches. The whole point was to look cool when you wore the jacket when you weren’t on the slopes. I don’t know what happened to that jacket, but I wish I’d saved those patches.

Next up is my bird-watching kit bag, with room for binocs, field guide, camera, water bottle. Most of those patches are from my years in the west – travels around Alberta and British Columbia, plus a few other patches that caught my fancy, like a space shuttle launch, my favorite railways, and a trip to Point Pelee long before I ever thought of living here. It’s a visual history of places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen, and things that interest me. But now I’m out of room on the bag.

The two most recent patches I’ve picked up are a Beach Boys logo that went on a summer cap (thanks to Pearl and Sweeney for propping it up for the photo) but I still haven’t found a place for my Dharma Initiative patch from the TV show LOST. Maybe I should start a new jacket.

(photos enlarge)


mom/caryn said...

This was a nostalgic walk down memory lane... What a great idea. I didn't save any of my girl scout or campfire girl stuff. I didn't save much from my youth. BIG mistake.

I truly enjoyed this post!! It is kind of fun to let our minds get lost in the past when we clean out old drawers, closets and treasure boxes, isn't it? I wish so much that many of my treasures hadn't been lost over the years. Those few I have left are precious!!

Sylvia K said...

I have to admit I never wanted to keep any reminders of my childhood and as the years went by I found that I continued to cling to very few things. I don't mean to imply that all my memories of my adult years are bad because they certainly aren't, but I've had to move so frequently over the years that I just got rid of stuff with each move. I'm not bitter in any way, I just love the "now" until it becomes the "then" and I move on. Sometimes I'm sorry it's been that way, but not often. I have lots of wonderful memories to cover up the bad ones, but they are all in my mind and not anything I can hold in my hand! Thanks for a really lovely post and I'm glad a walk down memory lane is fun for you. I think that's great! Love you!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Even though I was in scouts and band while growing up, I never managed to keep any patches I may have received. I enjoyed seeing all of yours, Deb.

These days, George and I collect T-shirts. Everywhere we go, we try to buy one of that area's t-shirts. We have quite a collection now. It's fun --but takes up much more room than patches would!!! ha


Beloved Dreamer said...

Love your patches. If you find a
Dharma Initiative Patch, tell me were to get one. I'm lost in LOST!!!!


SandyCarlson said...

Those patches are lovely. I was a shy scout who never earned many badges. I wish I had. But my sash had the same look (with a lot more green space). These are like mnemonic devices.

My daughter collects pins from all the states and big cities she visits. She has a denim jacket loaded with them. I wonder if she will keep it to look back on when she is older.

bobbie said...

What a wonderful trip through your youth, and such a colorful collection. I have no clue where my old Girl Scout badges might be. But I do know that my mother was one of those who snatch up and throw out anything you leave lying around. So many things disappeared over night. So many toys I wish I still had. So much art work other mothers would have put on the fridge were torn up for scrap paper.
Treasure your collection.

Shellmo said...

I really like your patch collection! I think the cardinal patch on your girlscout sash is my favorite. I picked up my 1st patch ever last year - from Hartwick Pines State Park. Not sure what I'm going to do with it - but I like it and now you have given me some ideas - maybe I'll put it on a bag.

Lin said...

great post, think I'll do my daughters of utah pioneer patches/pins for my blog tomorrow-thanks for a good idea and trip down memory lane. All four of my sons were in boy scouts and got a ton of merit badges, so did my hubby as a teenager and my dad who earned them while he was leading the air scouts. hmm...more to put on my blog...thanks for a fun trip down memory lane.

Kallen305 said...

Such cool patches!!! I think its great that you saved it all. Most of my childhood and teenage memories are long gone and thrown away unfortunately.

Cloudia said...

Such an enjoyable post!
Redolent of forgotten childhood passions!

My favourite patch is on my post: "Club Not a Gang" remember it? ;-)

Dharma Initiative! Creepy (or cool - not sure which)

Patches ARE cool, Aloha Deborah!

edward said...

was you really a girl scout in 1498? that a long time ago

nice patches.