COOKIE TIME IN THE VALLEY

Actually, it’s cookie time in the Los Angeles region. The Girl Scouts within this area has already launched their annual fund raising drive of selling Girl Scout Cookies, a tradition that goes back a little over 100 years.

Although these stats do vary depending on the community and the region one dwells in, The Girl Scouts is an organization that teaches those of the named gender “..life skills, STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship with civic engagement to deliver crucial, life-changing, girl-led programming” (The previous quote was extracted from the Girl Scouts organization.) And although the age of the scouts ranges between five and eighteen years, most of the scouts as witnessed by this writer appear between the ages of eight through thirteen.

Many of these scouts usually sell their cookies by setting up a table in front of a retail outlet that caters to heavy traffic (supermarket, big box store, etc.) or through a community based organization. (Churches, etc.) Although a few will still go door-to-door in their neighborhood, many of them do not take this function due to safety issues.

But it’s not just the Girl Scouts doing all of the selling. Many of the moms (and perhaps a few dads) are performing the selling on their daughter and/or daughter-figure’s behalf. When yours truly was working as a researcher at a local TV station’s news room, one of the staff number, a mother of not one, but to two girls that were scouts, were going around the TV station’s work spaces asking those at work if they wanted to grab a box or two of the GS cookies. Many of the newsroom staff did. However at the time, I was shunning away from sweets. Every time I was asked by this mom of two GS in the family, I had to say “thanks but no thanks!” The woman, whose name is now long forgotten, was a good sport about me turning her down, although she did ask me once a week through a six week period. (I don’t think she remembered asking me before.) But whatever the case, I did hear that she sold a lot of cookies, even selling a few boxes to the on-air news staff!

That wasn’t my only experience with GS cookies. Many years before, my elder sister who was about thirteen at the time, did her part in selling GS cookies! She had a knack for being a self starting person, holding a keen savvy in convincing anybody in buying a box or two! With this savvyness, she actually convinced me to assist her in fobbing off cookies to those that were NOT friends, family members, co-workers, or anyone known to our clan.

So we spent our after school days (along with a few weekends) in the month of March and early April going through our neighborhood door-to-door in selling cookies. Keep in mind that this attempt was done around c.1972, a time where it was actually possible by having a pair of kids with a pull along aluminum shopping cart full of cookies while caring a pouch full of dollar bills and quarters going on their own unsupervised with the hopes of selling cookies to people around a number of blocks away from where we lived. (For the record, we lived in the community of Evanston, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago that resembles Pasadena or South Pasadena to give one an idea of what the community resembled!)

At the time, a box of cookies cost $1.25. That price was rather expensive for a box of cookies where one can get the same amount of cookies at the local Dominic’s or Jewel supermarket for 39 cents. However, those supermarket cookies were just cookies. What my elder sis was selling was Girl Scout cookies!

She was a complete whiz in selling these cookies! She had this charm and personality that just about everyone fell for. With me as her faithful(?) assistant, we were able to sell these boxes to a point where we would sell out in only a matter of hours, only to go back to our place to reload! I didn’t do much in the selling part. She sweet talked her way to those standing at their doorways in getting a box of cookies for themselves. One person even ordered a case (12 boxes to a case) of thin mints for a party this person was throwing that Saturday night! (I don’t know what the party was to commemorate as we were not invited!) And although a few did say “no thanks”, it was always done with good intentions. So nobody slammed any doors in our faces!

And when she decided to move her operations to the north side of town, near the campus of Northwestern University, that is when she stuck the motherload! That part of town has a lot of ritzy homes where many of the NU staff lived. And these folks appeared to have deeper pockets as nobody objected to the $1.25 price. That area also borders to the nearby suburb of Kennelworth, home to a lot of “old money” families!

After the sales were done, she sold a total of fifty-five cases at twelve boxes to a case. At one time, our living room resembled a warehouse stacked with case upon case of GS cookies. My mom became the unofficial inventory manager, keeping track to how many boxes of what variety was ready for delivery.

And not surprising, the thin mints were the biggest sellers as they still are in this day and age. It goes to show that people’s tastes do not necessarily change as much as one may realize!

It turned out that my sis became in the top five sellers of cookies in her district, and was the only one whose mom was not a scout leader! As a reward, she was able to go to a Girl Scout camp located near the Wisconsin border for two weeks for free, a premium that only a handful of Girl Scouts could ever reach!

And what did I get out of this assisting? I received a 1972 Girl Scout calendar in June(!), and a damaged box of Girl Scout cookies where most of the cookies were broken! I think the cookies I got was an Oreo-type knockoff. But I did enjoy them while tuning in on an episode of The Flip Wilson Show on TV.

So when you are visiting your local supermarket or any other retailer and you spy upon a group of Girl Scouts standing around a card near the store’s entrance, make sure that you do your part to grab a box or two of your favorite variety of cookies. It may cost you more than a buck and a quarter per box, but you are doing your part for the youth of America! (PS..I think I still have that calendar tucked away somewhere. I can always use it again in 2028!)
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Glendale Centre Theatre presents CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES, a musical comedy about a group of women dedicated to doing their part in working their cooking skills set within a sub-basement of their community church.

The setting is the said basement kitchen located inside a Lutheran church in small town Minnesota. It’s the middle 1960’s, and the ladies in question consist of Mrs. Vivian Snustad (Kate Landro), Mrs. Marvis Gilmerson (Kristen Hamilton, Mrs. Karis Engelson (Charlotte Carpenter) and her daughter Miss Beverly Engelson (Amanda Walker). Their purpose in the church is to take charge in cooking dinners and treats that are part of various fund raising events. Overseeing everything is Pastor Genderson (Patrick Foley). These woman work hard in getting everything is proper order. Beverly helps when she is home from her studies at the University of Minnesota located in “the cities” not so far away from their little village. Over time, a few things are in its ever changing moments at the church, such as having the hymn book go from black covers to red, catering the funeral for the church’s janitor that maintained the heating system, and eventually arranging the wedding of Beverly a few years later. With their Norwegian heritage in play that features lutefisk (dried codfish) and lefse (potato pancakes) on the menu, it’s this fine group of women that keep their church in full fledged order!

This musical, with book by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehike, and music and lyrics by Drew Jansen, is a charming piece that is set in a period and location where everything seems to be simpler, in spite of those “changes” that is going on at the time. (Guitar music played during services?) The cast of the five performers that appear in this show take their characters to life where they are as appealing and delightful, even adding a northern Minnesota “accent” to their speech with a few you betchas and an uff da added for authentic flavor! Much of what these ladies create in their sub terrain kitchen space isn’t necessarily healthy as Miracle Whip is found in the icebox and Crisco is set inside the cupboard. An attempt of serving a vegetarian pasta dish throws them off a bit. But if they want to keep up with the times, so be it!

Many of the regular GCT behind-the-scenes crew members are once again involved in this production, from Steven Applegate’s transcribed musical direction, Paul Reid’s choreography, Angela Manke’s period costume design, to George Strattan’s stage direction. This team effort enhances the spirit to what this little theatre in Glendale strives for by presenting family friendly programs that appeal to its patrons! And in a few years (2022 to be exact), the GCT will commemorate its seventy-five years of existence! For a community theatre that’s been running for close to three quarters of a century, they must be doing something right! Shows such as this one proves this point!

CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES is a stage piece that will please those that enjoy a musical that is irresistible as a good ol’ fashioned church luncheon. And remember–when lutefish is outlawed, only outlaws will have lutefisk!!

CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until March 9th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. No Sunday performance on March 3rd.
For more information, call (818) 244-8481, or via online at
http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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