Girl Scouts for Mom and Me (1957-1967), Rapid City, South Dakota

By Rose Klix

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Me as Brownie Scout in 1957
Aunt Myrtle led Jim’s Cub Scout den when we lived on New York Street. Even after we moved to Cleghorn Canyon, Mom drove him back and forth to the previous neighborhood. He continued to attend his weekly meetings. When we moved to Columbus Street, Mom became Jim’s Den Mother.

Cub Scout den mother Feb 1959

Mom in flowered dress; Jim 2nd from right

Captain Glenn’s Fun Wagon on local TV scheduled Jim’s den to appear. Because I rode along, the producers put me on the show. Jim grumped, because they included his little sister. Captain Glenn introduced me to his audience and laughed about me being a Cub Scout too. I sat on his lap when he asked, “What do you want for Christmas?” For my TV début, I said, “A bride doll.”

Being little sister, I played the Cub Scout games, made crafts, and participated in many of their activities unless they rough-housed. Often Mom’s scout programs did double duty when she combined the boys’ Halloween party and Christmas caroling with her newly formed Brownie troop. Once Jim went into Boy Scouts, Dad took over as Boy Scout troop leader. However, Jim got out of scouts much faster than my turn as a Girl Scout. Instead, he became involved with the high school drill team until Mom denied permission for him to go on a team trip.

In September 1957, Mom first became my Brownie Scout leader at Cleghorn Canyon School. After the move in January 1958 to Columbus Street, her scouting “career” truly began.

At first I liked being a brownie scout. We had a little ceremony meant to teach self-reliance to the new member. Mom decorated a mirror for a pond with greenery to represent a wooded scene and narrated a story about a little girl asked to help with family chores. Her grandmother tells her a brownie will help once the girl finds her. She tells the girl to go to the woods, stand by the pond, turn around three times and say, “Twist me, turn me, show me the elf. I look in the pond and see – – myself.” After the ceremony the new Brownie is given a Girl Scout pin to be worn upside down until she learns the pledge, “On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, To help people at all times, And to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

Girl Scout investiture 1959 - Copy

Mom is 1st leader in back; I’m 2nd girl on right

In the investiture we performed “Itsy-bitsy Spider” and followed the lyrics with hand gestures. At meetings and camp, we sang a lot of songs. Like most children we particularly liked songs with hand gestures, rounds, or ones with nonsense words. A few come to mind: “She Wears a G (spells out Girl Scouts),” “My Hat It Has Three Corners,” “Bumblebee,” “Merry-Go-Round,” “Sippin’ Soda,” “Hinasaurarius,” “On Top Of Spaghetti,” “Five Little Ducks,” “Hello, Hello,” “I’m a Nut,” “Little Skunk Song,” “Found a Peanut” and “Little Green Frog.” See a video of me singing “Little Green Frog” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ck0_TCat-k

Mom bent over backwards to be really fair to the other girls. As a result I felt slighted. If she asked a question or requested a volunteer, she ignored my raised hand. Soon I decided not to raise it anymore; she didn’t notice.

They grilled me on the Girl Scout pledge. Mom and Dad made sure I earned my badges after they drilled and tested me until both were positive I’d learned the requirements. No favors for their daughter. They taught me integrity. I still have my Girl Scout sash with the 37 badges I sewed on it.

Mom created a ceremony, where we literally crossed a bridge from Brownies to Girl Scouts. We continued into Junior and Senior Girl Scouts. Mom was always our leader; Dad helped.

Dad loved to take the troop camping. He could show off his survival skills he learned as a Master Sergeant in the National Guard. We dug a latrine, braided rope and also created a bridge over a creek. I sanded and sanded my driftwood art project until it met Dad’s standards. Often he’d say, “Apply more elbow grease.” The flag must be folded into a triangle without any red stripe showing. He taught us to march and make square corners, drilled us on flag ceremonies, and the correct way to handle the flag or retire the colors. Often community events asked our troop to present the flag at their gatherings.

Senior Girl Scout 1967

I’m Senior Girl Scout far right

After my high school junior year and much begging, I succeeded in quitting scouts. Mom continued with the troop for two more years without me – sort of. Not trusted to stay home alone, I traveled with them on their Yellowstone trip. Dad bought a used school bus; they painted “Ramblin’ Rose” over the front windshield. We saw a moose. A few snowflakes in the air prompted Christmas carols in August 1967. We waited for the Old Faithful geyser to erupt. The other girls painted a sign to hold up in the back window, “Just Married.” They laughed and waved at cars behind us. Oh, such games children play!

To be fair, I did glean a lot of knowledge and benefit from troop experiences. Because of Girl Scouts, I became a Junior Red Cross Volunteer (this is a story in itself) and a Museum Aide for the Minnelusa Pioneer Museum. I not only earned badges or pins, but these were wonderful opportunities for future career choices. I knew at age 14 I did not want to be a nurse, because I’d “worked” in hospital and nursing home settings. I enjoyed being Program Aid at camp and leading the younger girls, storytelling, and singing at other troops’ meetings. As a result, I considered a teaching vocation.

For a short time when she grew up, Mom had been a Girl Guide. When Lord Robert Baton-Powell founded Scouting in the UK he intended it to be a boys’ activity, but a significant number of girls wanted to join. His sister Agnes Baton-Powell founded Girl Guides. Juliet Gordon Low, the Girl Scouts founder, modeled her organization after them.

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Trainers: Evelyn Rose (Mom) and Mrs. Davies

Scouting seemed to be more for Mom’s development than for mine. Mom volunteered, not only as our troop leader, but a trainer for other leaders. Many nights, I tried to do my homework on a back table while I watched her teach. She took her role very seriously, developed her material, and professionally trained the new leaders.

She served as a neighborhood and district chairman for other troops and the area Day Camp Director. For another step on her Girl Scout journey the Black Hills Girl Scout Council appointed her to give leadership and direction to the Neighborhood Association. Mom applied to be the Girl Scout Executive for the region. She didn’t quit when they didn’t select her. She grumbled that the “old maid” Executive lacked experience, because she didn’t have children of her own. The lady’s Home Economics degree gave her extra points. Even in the late fifties and mid-sixties a college education gained a career ladder rung. When I wanted to go to Our Chalet in Switzerland, the Executive denied my application. Mom’s attitude towards her possibly influenced the decision.

Once the last of Mom’s troop graduated from high school, she resigned as leader. The Girl Scout Council asked her to be on the Girl Scout Board. She turned down the opportunity as she thought it would be “a pretty dull job after all the fun of scouting.”

As our troop leader Mom really developed her own leadership and teaching skills as well as her self-confidence. For that, I’m glad she became my troop leader. Thank you, Mom and Girl Scouts, for providing me the opportunity to learn a variety of responsible adult skills.

(The above is an excerpt from Rose Klix’s memoir “Petals and Thorns of This Lifetime.” Please visit www.RoseKlix.com)

 

Chemotherapy Eve by Rose Klix

    April 8, 2010 I stood at the window staring into the black night, on the edge of a deep end, afraid of drowning. If I didn’t take the plunge into the best medical advice for this era, I would risk dying younger than I planned. That night, I revisited another fear:


     In 1968, I had enrolled in the required Aquatics class at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska. I learned swimming strokes in the shallow water and almost enjoyed paddling around.
One day, the instructor demanded we gather at the deep end and line up. When prompted, everyone but me jumped in. The churned water splashed against the sides and brought my attention to the six-foot mark. I subtracted a height of five-foot-four-and-a-half inches. Nope. Water would be over my head.
Fellow students eagerly returned to the queue for another chance to swim. I edged to the back and continually stationed myself at the end of that line. The instructor’s assistant stood by with a hooked rod to rescue us, if necessary. No comfort for me. I likened his tool to a fishing hook to skewer and drown worm bait.
Once the teacher thought everyone had jumped, she instructed us how to dive. After the other twenty students individually dove and swam to the ladder, she dismissed them to the locker room.
I was caught sucking air. Gills didn’t appear. My heart raced.
In the diver’s stance she’d taught us, I stood last with knees bent, arms overhead, thumbs interlaced, fingers and head pointed down. I took several deep breaths and held one, but could not thrust myself into the water. Legs threatened to fail me. Breath returned with a gasp. Tears streamed down my face.
The instructor stepped towards me. I cowered, because surely she intended to shove me over the edge. She said, “What’s the matter with you? You just jumped. Go ahead. Dive.” She gestured at the swimming pool.
My head shook with panic, but this also served as a negative answer. I didn’t tell her I’d crept to the end of the line. I thought, “If I dive, I drown. If not, I fail the class.”
After I perched for what seemed like hours, she pursed her lips, groaned, and glanced at her watch. With a disgusted wave she dismissed me to the locker room. I didn’t argue about the “C” final grade.


     I thought about following the doctors’ instructions tomorrow. Fear again surfaced. The surgeon’s answer had been mutilation to remove the tumor. The oncologist convinced me I must face being poisoned with chemotherapy. Poison and mutilation are the twenty-first century’s best options?
I valued my life and wished I did not have these harsh choices. Medical science already failed me by not detecting the problem early enough to give complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies a chance. My preference involved gentler energy work.
I struggled with trusting medical treatments. Dad had died of lung cancer nine years before. Surgery and chemotherapy didn’t save him and diminished his quality of life. My mother and Jim, my only sibling, both suffered fatal heart attacks last year. None of my birth family was physically present for me. Spiritually, they called me to join them. Instead I chose life and decided to depend on my husband Rob, son Scott, and friends to remain supportive.
I spent a few hours re-reading all the documents the cancer clinic provided me. I also reviewed some recommended computer links. The more I read and highlighted side effects, the less I was prepared. Dire results might last the rest of my life.
Months ago I prayed for this life lesson to be removed from me without surgery or chemotherapy, if it was God’s will. I thought His answer came from the guidance I received about CAM therapies. I mentally chastised myself. I should have been more diligent with self-help much sooner.
I’d been paddling around for a couple of years in the shallow end of CAM. Once this serious medical need appeared, I ramped up my efforts for two months. I practiced all the physical, nutritional, spiritual, and emotional support known to me. But they were too little, too late.
When at first I refused to dive in to medical advice, I still survived. But my body didn’t receive a passing grade on the MRI. The tumor grew anyway. I surrendered to surgery.
Defeated, I faced also submitting to chemotherapy. Tears found familiar channels over my cheeks. I looked out our window into blackness.
I thought I’d had enough life-altering events for one lifetime. My desperate prayer on that eve was to ask all my spiritual guides in the light to assist me. I whispered, “Help me through this life lesson.” I wanted to learn as gently as possible, repair my cellular damage, and look forward to the next third of my life, God willing.
“I’m willing. Are you, God?” Silence answered me.
As I contemplated the darkness, I heard Rob snore and smiled. He wouldn’t let me face this alone.
I couldn’t stand forever staring at the night. I needed to dive in, but wanted to strap on flotation devices. Could I be strong and enlist the clinic to support my CAM plan?
The computer cursor blinked and I resumed my research for what I intended to incorporate. Many tools were already in my arsenal: energy work, crystals, positive affirmations, essential oils, antioxidant foods, supportive family and friends, an iron will, and future plans. I pledged to be disciplined in using all available to me on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis.
For positive affirmations, I said, “I am strong and healthy.” I promised, “I will smile, laugh, and sing. I will encourage others and gain encouragement from those learning from cancer as patients, caregivers, and survivors. I love life and I’m not done yet.”
As I crammed for my first treatment appointment, I hoped to weather the stormy days as well as the fair sailing times. I remembered that on the day I discovered the tumor, Rob and I sailed on a cruise intersecting Tropical Storm Erika. We survived then and will again.
With heavy tear-ravaged eyes, the bed called me to sleep. I resigned my search. Rob stirred when I pulled back the covers, crawled under, and tucked them under my chin. We dozed into tomorrow.

(An advance excerpt from book “Cruising with Breast Cancer.” Publication date expected in 2015.

http://www.RoseKlix.com

Pruning Rose

As you watch the video, I invite you to read my poem printed below. I celebrate survivors of breast cancer. Today is the first day for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month
I salute all cancer survivors, empathize with those struggling, and mourn anyone who lost their battle this lifetime. Unfortunately, there are far too many who are touched by cancer.

Pruning Rose
by Rose Klix

Roses thrive with careful pruning,
send out shoots a foot longer than the ones cut off.
Then their blossoms blush with a youthful newness.

With my doctors’ help, cancer pruned me.
They stripped away my control
and attempted a complete removal of my dignity.

They replaced my once noticeable femininity
with long scars and promised to rebuild my breasts
after my physical healing was complete.

But proud, I stand with the Amazons, who chose
similar transformation for better archery skills.
I am readied to fight for my life with chemotherapy.

I endure side effects and digestive discomforts.
People say I look good in spite of skin blemishes.
Even on my worst days, my husband takes care of me.

Today my crown is devoid of hair. My friend and I cry.
I’m not ready for my world to view a GI Jane style.
She encourages me to shop for feminine sassy hats.

I am not strong. I am not brave.
I am a survivor, who refuses to hide.
God pruned me. He expects I will blossom more fully.

- written in 2010

Please visit http://www.RoseKlix.com
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Excerpt six – Gone, Not Forgotten

dried rose petals

rose potpourri

ROSES OF MOTHERHOOD
by Rose Klix

VI. Gone, Not Forgotten
- potpourri and ashes

Rain lasting throughout the quiet spring.
Fondly remembered good time smiles,
small events, warm and cuddly sunshine.
Your ashes are part of the good earth.
Gone away, but your essence stayed.
Your seeds and their seeds display unique hues.
So much like you, though they deny it.
Bless you for watching over us still.

Excerpted from Pastiche of Poetry, Volume II, copyright 2012.
Poet’s comment: “This last stanza from my poem Roses of Motherhood brings to mind the many generations of mothers who passed before me. Earlier I disliked being compared to Mom. Relatives told her the same about Grandma. Now I remember them both as part of me when I look in the mirror. This Mother’s Day holiday I commemorate their ashes in the circle of life progression. I made potpourri from my roses’ petals; their scent lingers as strong as pleasant memories.” Rose Klix
http://www.RoseKlix.com/books

Excerpt five – Grandmother

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ROSES OF MOTHERHOOD
by Rose Klix

V. Grandmother
- dropping petals

You’re hardy and survived harsh winters.
Some thorny years have taken their toll.
Time for rocking chair philosophy.
Soft petals have started to wrinkle.
Hugs, kisses, love are miles away.
The scent of your perfume lingers.
It seems you will always be there, but . . .
Thank you for reaching out with your love.

Excerpted from Pastiche of Poetry, Volume II, copyright 2012.
Poet’s comment: “This stanza from my poem Roses of Motherhood brings to mind both of my grandmothers. Fortunately I knew them, but for a brief time. My paternal grandmother lived her early life in true pioneer style, homesteading on the South Dakota prairie. My maternal grandmother grew up in a rural setting. She helped Mom and me garden and can our food. My own mother enjoyed her role as grandma. This Mother’s Day I celebrate generations of mothering.”
Rose Klix http://www.RoseKlix.com/books

Excerpt four – Empty Nest

Crying Rose

Red Rose in full bloom with raindrops

ROSES OF MOTHERHOOD

by Rose Klix

IV. Empty Nestfull bloom

Seeds in the wind, years and children gone,
sought their own sunshine and felt their rain.
They didn’t take root, not here, not now.
Lighthouse safe-haven perennial,
your fertilizer is tried and true.
Tenderness and training cling to them.
Sometimes they asked. Sometimes they listened.
Thank you. You knew when to let go.

Excerpted from Pastiche of Poetry, Volume II, copyright 2012.
Poet’s comment: “This stanza from my poem Roses of Motherhood brings to mind my son moving away. I continue to think about and worry about his decisions. He’s not my little boy and I know he must live his own life. It also reminds me of the times I pulled away from him and my own mother. She didn’t always agree on my choices, but always respected I had the right to make my own mistakes. We shared tears which glisten like this rose’s raindrops reflect the sunshine.” Rose Klix
http://www.RoseKlix.com/books

Excerpt three – Practicing Mother

Blossom opening

ROSES OF MOTHERHOOD
by Rose Klix

III. Practicing Mother
- an opening blossom

The shaded hues of blossoms defined
tentatively opened petals.
Study parenthood during sleepless
worry nights. Each day is a pop quiz.
Teacher, friend, guide, all this even more.
Spring and summer are gone in a flash.
Crazy world explorers seek safe shade.
Thank you for your wisdom and advice.

Excerpted from Pastiche of Poetry, Volume II, copyright 2012.
Poet’s comment: “This stanza from my poem Roses of Motherhood brings to mind the many worry lines I developed helping my son Scott grow to manhood. I still hold guilt for mistakes which prevented Erik living beyond the toddler stage. The children were not the only ones who learned and matured. I hope I was a refuge from the ‘crazy world’ sometimes.” Rose Klix

http://www.RoseKlix.com/books