As I recall, being a Girl Scout throughout my middle-school and most of my high school years did not loom for large for me at the time. Not like school did, or my social life or lack thereof did; not like being in the school play did or like being on the high school basketball team surely would have had I made the team, which I didn't; not like having or lacking a date for a school dance did, a date being a necessary accoutrement for entrance to a dance back in those days; and not as did the insecurity and social anxiety and discomfort in my own skin that formed the overarching narrative of my teenage years without my even realizing it at the time.
My parents didn't encourage me to stay in Girl Scouts so that I could list this activity on my college resumé; I didn't mention on my college application that I'd been a Girl Scout for five years.
No, Girl Scouting was just something I liked and felt good about doing, once a week putting on my uniform - a hunter green skirt, white blouse, badge sash and snappy green beret when I was a Cadet scout in middle school and a military-style green skirt and blouse topped by a garrison cap when I was a Senior scout in high school - then walking to or being dropped off at the nearby Methodist church with my two besties,
Then at the meetings we'd hang out with the other girls and laugh and do whatever else we did.
As for what we actually did at the meetings besides hanging out and laughing, I guess I don't remember all that much anymore. But I do have a couple of salient Girl Scout memories, among them the Girl Scout meeting at which I received my introduction to a particular fact of life of which up until then I'd never had even the vaguest inkling.
I was in eighth grade at the time and several of us in the troop were working on a puppet show. I'd written the script, a condensed translation of the opera "La Bohème" (when I was young my father used to listen to opera constantly, hence so did we all in my family, by default) and we were sitting around a table making our puppet versions of Mimi, Rudolpho, Musetta and Marcello.
For some reason one of the girls said to another, "Oh, you are such a queer!" to which the girl responded, "No, you're a queer!" Then soon we all were having a fine time laughing and saying to one another, "You're a queer!" "No, you're a queer!" "No, you're a queer!"
Over to our table strode our troop leader, one of the girls' mothers, looking so disapprovingly that we all quickly shut up. I thought we were in trouble for calling each other names, though in truth there was no meanness involved.
However our troop leader wasn't angry, just very serious. "Do you girls know what that word you're calling each other means?"
We all giggled with embarrassment. "You know, like, a drip?" one of us asked. "A weirdo?" suggested another. "A square? An oddball?" somebody else offered.
"No," said our troop leader, still deathly serious, "it means a man who dresses like a woman or a woman who dresses like a man."
Our troop leader's revelation left all of us in stunned silence. I for one sat trying to visualize a man dressing like a woman or a woman dressing like a man, wondering why any man or woman would want to so dress, but surmising from our leader's tone that such an act was a very grave offense indeed, though I had no idea why, except that doing so would be pretty, well, queer.
In any case, I never called anyone a queer after that though it was some time until all the blanks in my troop leader's spare and misinformed lesson on the diversity of human gender orientation were filled in for me.
As for our puppet show, on performance night I was in such a state of anxious fear that my play might receive critical derision that I pretended to be sick and poor Michelle had to use both hands playing both her character and mine.
Later that evening I wanted to kick myself when Michelle called to inform me the show had been a great hit.