Los Angeles, California, USA
October 22
Charming young lady, with sharp tongue and vocabulary of a seasoned longshoreman, who carries in her handbag worn and tattered membership cards to the Mayflower Society and Daughters of the American Revolution, for which her dues are in arrears.


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FEBRUARY 4, 2010 2:30AM

The Great Girl Scout Cookie Caper of 1976

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Betcha didn't know that once upon a time I was a Girl Scout.    I didn't last long in the scouts, unlike my husband who made it all the way to Eagle Scout.  (Yet, for some reason he refuses to indulge me in bedroom role playing where he wears his uniform (with neckerchief) and I'm a lost hiker in hot pants.)  Actually, I barely remember my brief forray into scouting, have no memorabilia, and there's no photographic evidence to prove how adorable I was in my uniform, but I was, you can trust me on that.  In fact it is almost as though my participation was scrubbed from the annals of Girl Scouting as a result of the Great Girl Scout Cookie Caper of 1976. I did, after all violate several of the Girl Scout Laws, not to mention a few local statutes.

©1947 Girl Scouts (see enlarged)

Knowing how I am today, you can be sure I was a lazy Brownie and an even lazier Girl Scout. My sash was most likely devoid of the coveted badges that better scouts work so hard to attain.  You have to actually do things to get those as it turns out. From perusing my vintage Girl Scout Handbook tonight it turns out that I might be pretty close to qualifying for the Clerk, Cook, Handywoman, and Housekeeper badges.  If they'll let me back in, that is.

Image Courtesy of www.vintagegirlscout.com

Back in the day, when I was a Brownie, my friend Wendy's mom, a rather exasperated woman and one of the first single-mothers I ever met,  was the troop leader for Wendy's sister's troop. That spring Wendy invited me to tag along on a field trip to Catalina Island with "the big girls."  I remember the place we stayed was freezing cold and my thin nightshirt, orange with an iron-on lion's face on the chest, wasn't enough to keep me warm. So, I put on my jeans when I went to bed.  As I recall Wendy and I were somewhat rowdy that night; we were having a bit of a noisy pillow fight, when the door to our room flew open and her mother was standing there, blonde hair in a teased disarray, and an expression of rage on her face.  She screamed at us to "Shut the hell up and go to bed!"  Before she left the room she noticed that I had my jeans on and told me to take them off.  When I tried to explain that I was cold, she shouted "Take those damn things off before I beat your ass bloody red!"  If only there was a badge for being berated by a frazzled troop leader.

Image Courtesy of www.girlscouts.org

The next year I advanced into the Girl Scouts and swapped my Brownie beanie and orange tie for the festive green Girl Scout uniform.  It was also to be my last year as a scout.  The highlight of each scouting year is the annual cookie drive. Friendly competition amongst the girls and the troops, and diet challenges to anyone with a sweet tooth. Like all good scouts, I sold cookies to raise money in the annual drive.  I also ate more than my fair share of them.  Back then I loved the Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies,Do-Si-Dos, best of all. Too bad there isn't a badge for binge eating.

 A few months after the annual drive was over, I discovered that I still had an order sheet for the cookies in my desk.  Being a clever girl with a knack for telling white lies and a bit short on cash, I decided to make a tour around the neighborhood with my order sheet and take orders for cookies and pocket the cash. One of the beautiful things about being a Girl Scout is that the uniform, coupled with a youthful grin, encourages adults to trust you. (See Girl Scout Law #1 - A Girl Scout's honor is to be trusted.) Even today, as a matter of routine orders for cookies are placed and checks and cash are proffered in anticipation of delivery of the cookies.  You can trust a Girl Scout to deliver. Unless that Girl Scout is me.

I went door to door in our neighborhood conning family friends and relative strangers all afternoon.  When I got home, just after dark, I had a wad of cash, which I explained to my marks was the preferred form of payment for these treasured morsels, and a handful of checks (utterly useless to a nine year old girl.)  My mother was waiting for me in the kitchen, hands on her hips, with a "What the fuck were you thinking?" expression.  It seems she had just hung up the phone with one of her friends (and one of my marks) who thought my story was a wee bit shifty and had called my mother to check it out.  I was marched right back out of the house and had to go to each person on the list and, under my mother's withering gaze, confess my skullduggery, apologize profusely, and return their money. I also had to fess up to my troop leader.  Who knew that there is no Girl Scout badge for fraud?

As an adult, I have dutifully ordered Girl Scout cookies from the daughters of my friends and bought them from little scouts who set up stands in front of their homes and outside supermarkets.  When I can I double my order and ask the troop to donate them to their special cause (last year US soldiers abroad, this year a food bank.) Perhaps  as penance for The Great Girl Scout Cookie Caper of 1976.  I wonder if they have a badge for penance?

 Terrorized Tagalong Brownie Bars

1 box Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies
1 stick butter
2 cups chocolate chips (preferably dark chocolate)
2 cups sweetened coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Put Tagalong cookies in food processor and pulse until they form crumbs. Melt butter in sauce pan, then combine with cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9" x 11" pan lined with parchment paper, and form a crust.


 Sprinkle chocolate chips over the cookie crumb crust.  Then sprinkle the coconut to cover the layer of chocolate chips. Drizzle the contents of the can of evaporated milk over the chips and coconut in a zig-zag pattern until the can is empty and most of the coconut is saturated.

Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, or until coconut is turning golden.  Remove from oven and cool.  Cut into squares. 


 You'll love 'em.  On my Girl Scout's honor!

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Find your nearest Girl Scout and get your annual fix!
I am trying to lose weight and just drop them into the toliet. Sweetly.
and oh yeah, I was a Bluebird, ever so briefly. Seems there was an incident with burning a bra, but cannot remember the details.

Wish I had your baked treat here right now. I would pile it instantly into the toliet which is my actual mouth.

(love this post, as usual...)
"Who knew that there is no Girl Scout badge for fraud?"

There should be!! ;)

The brownie bars look nummy!!!!
On behalf of all former Girl Scouts, I am shocked, I tell you, shocked! And a little in awe, that was quite a plan ;)
Ha! I loved the uniform, but only earned two badges:
Homemaking and Hospitality. fail._r
Sorry. Did you say something about cookies? I can't get past imagining you in knee socks.
You get the writing badge for this one.
Our Girl Scout pasts sound similar - I think I dropped out after my talents were taxed getting the arts and crafts badge.

That recipe looks very healthy...ummm....or not....but I know my kids would eat the whole pan in one sitting.
I'm really disappointed in Dave not wanting to play out that fantasy. I think much less of him know.
Surly to the core! I love it!

But I got you on this: "there's no photographic evidence to prove how adorable I was in my uniform". Can't fool me with your clever vintagegirlscout.com designation. I know that's really you!
I owe UNICEF about $10. Fun piece.
I will now look at the little vendors at my door with some degree of skepticism before handing over my cash! :)
I think I was in Brownies - it obviously made such an impression on me that I can't even remember. The closest I came to being a Girl Scout was when I found a uniform in a thrift store in college and went as a slutty one for Halloween. ah...good times.

Those brownies might be a bit much for me as I'm not super handy at sewing my clothing's seams back together. But they look yummy!
I was totally into the recipe, until I saw the very last line . . . ;~)
Teach you, never con friends and family, always go after strangers who can't track you down. And who says you can't learn anything from scouting.
I think I got one badge in art then quit. For some reason, I thought brownies was about, you know, brownies.

I love the story of conning the neighbors. Your creativity peaked early, that's all.
oh you were an evil little munchkin.

coconut is my favorite favorite thing.
Three of us in my grade school were unaffiliated with any type of "scouting" group. Oh how the grownups tried to get us to join...something...anything. I resisted with all my might. Still do. Avoid groups whenever possible!

Great story, well told!
You are an everything edible goddess...past, present and future...
Great story, but just reading that recipe makes my teeth hurt!
OMG - who wouldn't want to be a girl scout??? JUST LOOK at those white gloves.
Scandalous! There's probably a lot of undiscovered fraud out there...
I objected on ideological grounds to wearing a uniform, except for my senior year in high school, when I borrowed a Girl Scout uniform for Halloween.
So I was right that you got kicked out of the Girl Scouts.

Rated Highly
I was a Brownie for three years before dropping out. We never got to do anything cool, just sell cookies and sing to old people and go to the Ice Capades.

Dad would regale us with tales of his Boy Scout days, when on one campout him and his cousins Dennis and David Baute had to catch a chicken, kill it with a rusty pocketknife, cook it, and eat it. On another campout they had to kill a turtle. Dad insisted that this was a requirement for a survival merit badge.

Later on I got ahold of a 1968 Boy Scout handbook, read the thing from cover to cover, and there was NO mention of any slaughtering and butchering of animals anywhere in that.

Dad was genuinely surprised to learn that his Scoutmasters were just sadists.
I love your suggested badges! Now THAT would be a fun girl scout troop. ;P
Now I have even more empathy with the Girl Scouts!!!
Sounds like you and WSFTC should form a cookie posse. She could pee on the front porch to cause a distraction, while you steal whatever's handy.

So glad to have met you.
I love the Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies! (And, yes, you're going straight to Hell.)
Never got to be a girl scout, ate lots of cookies over the years....let my daughter try it out. She was never completely sold on the whole thing. One of the leaders never let the girls actually do their projects. As she sought perfection, she felt inclined to do them all for them. The other woman was more laid back, so laid back that when I picked my daughter up from a campfire outing, she had invited her husband and his friends to join in, with beers along with the marshmellows. Yeah, that was it. I loved your honest and innovative cookie story. Thanks for writing.....
I was a Brownie but never made it to Girl Scouts. Your Girl Scout past is much more entertaining than mine! Now my daughter's a Brownie and I'm patiently waiting for her cookie order to come in.
I was a Girl Scout, and then later a Daisy and Brownie Leader. The cookies are great, although the Council gets the lion's share of the money, not the troop or individual girls. Imagine my shock when I learned that the Boy Scouts give each Scout individual credit for the popcorn they sell.
I hate that the cookie sale is always around the time of Lent - I have to wait for my binge eating.
I imagine the problem with a Girl Scout badge for Fraud would be that you'd never know if it was real or not.
Brilliant! I hope your later crimes were concealed better, though.
Am from english country and i was a scout member and dat was den but now am in french coutry and i wan't to join dem now, but don't know how to speak french so pls friends tell me wath to do thanks.