No! Not chocolate brownies but the Brownies, little Girl Guides! When I was young you could become a brownie when you were about six or seven… now they have an even more junior group, the Rainbows… but back then there was only the Brownies and I became a Brownie.
The Brownie pack was divided up into sixes, each with the name of a sprite of some sort, each with a little motto. ‘Here we come the laughing gnomes, helping mothers in the homes!’, ‘Her we come the jolly pixies, helping others when in fixes’, – I can’t remember the elves, no doubt they were helping others not themselves. Each six was led by a sixer who had a second to help her (the Brownies were big on helping it seems!) Leader of the pack was Brown Owl, supported by Tawny Owl… and there may have been a White or Grey Owl as well.
There was a plaster toadstool that we skipped around in a circle singing ‘We’re the Brownies, here’s our aim, helping others and play the game’, yes we were very keen on helping… which actually isn’t a bad thing, is it? Once we’d all skipped round together singing, then each six would skip round, led by the sixer, singing their own little rhyme. It sounds so charming, doesn’t it?
There was also the Brownie promise, which we made, standing to attention with our little arms raised in the brownie salute
When you’flew up’ to the Guides your salute was with three fingers. The Brownie promise was ‘I promise to do m best, to do my duty to God and the Queen, to help other people every day, especially those at home’. Even at that early age I jibbed a bit at the God bit; before I made my first promise Brown Owl asked me what it meant. I remember it so vividly; we were in the hall of the infants school, and she was talking to me and another little girl standing beside the stage. Brown Owl asked me how I could do my duty to the Queen, full of stories and with my vivid imagination I replied that if the country was attacked, I could help her escape!
I must have been a Brownie for about six years, and got lots of badges for different things, and became a sixer; I flew up to the Guides but by then I was more involved with the swimming club and I didn’t have so many friends… and before long I left. But I still remember my Brownie days with such fondness!