Cookies and Smiles

Way back when, I was in the Brownies (girl guides/girl scouts). I was a leprechaun. I’m the short one with dark hair below.

001There are a few things I remember about being in the Brownies. One is an Easter Sunday parade at church (there was some official ‘Brownie’ word, but that’s not one of the things I remember). We were instructed by Brown Owl to bring half a dozen eggs which would be distributed to needy old age pensioners after the church service. These eggs were supposed to be raw, so the deserving OAP could whip themselves up some scrambled eggs, bake a cake, or whatever else you can do with eggs. However, my mother refused to believe the eggs should be raw. She  didn’t believe they’d let a group of  seven- to nine-year-olds sit in church for an hour with boxes of fragile eggs and insisted on hard boiling mine. I still have visions of some old dear trying to crack an egg for a morning fry-up, only to find a rubbery ball in the shell.

Another thing I remember is selling ‘Sunny Smiles’. At the time, all I knew was that the money was for poor children, and that I struggled to sell even one book while other brownies would sell volumes and volumes of the things. I’ve since found out that the money raised went to the National Children’s Homes. I don’t know if brownies still sell Sunny Smiles, but they were the British alternative to Girl Scout cookies. While American brownies were shifting boxes of thin mints, I was trying to sell  black and white pictures of orphans.

Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies

Sunny Smiles

Sunny Smiles

They were small pictures, perhaps 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches. I found the image here on a Facebook group I belong to. I always felt a little sorry for the children in the booklets. Of course, I felt sorry that the children were in need, but I felt even sorrier that people would leaf through the books, looking for a kid they considered cute enough to buy. People would tear out the kid they wanted, and sign their name on the stub left in the book. I’m not sure why they had to sign their name, but I think it was supposed to act as proof that you didn’t just sell the whole book to your mum and dad, and that you’d forced your parents to pressure their friends and coworkers into buying some. Any children the buyers thought were less attractive would be left in the books at the end of the selling period, and I felt very bad for those children. As an adult, selling pictures of young children seems odd, although the intention was good.

I can’t help thinking that boxes of cookies (or should I say biscuits?) would have raised more money, but the little booklets were easy to carry around. Looking back, Sunny Smiles were a nice, if strange, idea. Anyone else sell Sunny Smiles?


4 thoughts on “Cookies and Smiles

  1. I sold the cookies although not the thin mint type. In Canada, they consisted of two biscuits with icing inside one half of the box vanilla and the other half chocolate. Mike would have crunmbled up the choccie half in a bowl, added milk and called it breakfast… The cookies are still out there, 100 times the prices and the subject of great controversy now over there health benefits. Selling children’s photos??? I think that is illegal in most countries!!! 🙂

    • The girl scout cookies here had a new ‘healthier’ type among all the usual suspects, but cookies are still cookies. They stir up controversies here, too.

      When I was writing I did think that the photos are probably banned now!

  2. I had friends in the Brownies but I never was so, no, I didn’t sell sunny smiles. If I’d had biscuits to sell, I’d probably have eaten them instead!

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