A Girl Scout Troop’s Adventures Abroad in 1949: Part 1 of 3

For the next three weeks, come along as Barb Gilbertson experiences the “branching point” of a lifetime.

What are branching points? The events that leave your life forever changed. A branching point may come about by choice or by chance; it may seem terrible at the time but turn out to be the beginning of a wonderful new phase. In my memoir writing workshops, I emphasize branching points because that’s where “the plump fish of memory are lurking,” to quote James Birren. Where there’s a branch there’s a good story–one that reveals something about your character.

When asked to write on a branching point, Barb shared these stories with the participants in “Remember to Write”, sponsored by the Monona Senior Center in Spring 2021.

By Barbara Gilbertson

I was just starting high school and heard about a Senior Girl Scout troop that met on Monday nights at the Congregational Church. Should I join? I had loved being a Girl Scout…but in high school? I decided to give it a try. It was a decision that would affect my whole life and for which I would always be thankful. Every week I hiked the mile up to the meeting of Troop One and then back home…for the next four years!

Our leader Emily was a dynamic 37 year old woman who loved to hike and camp and she had a car…a Model T Ford named Henrietta that transported us many times to the beginning of a hiking trail. None of our parents were hikers or tent campers and many did not own cars. This was all new and exciting stuff.

Emily with her car, “Henrietta,” adventuring in Appalachia, 1940

In upcoming posts, follow along as scouting takes Barb and her friends to Europe, thanks to “Manchester’s Extraordinary Scout Leader” Emily!

In Brussels, Barb’s troop visited the famous “Mannekin Pis” statue (look closely above the girls.)

©  2021  Barbara Gilbertson

Barbara Gilbertson grew up on the East Coast; met her husband on a trip to Alaska visiting a Girl Scout buddy.  He was from Eau Claire, Wisconsin so that explains the past 41 years in Wisconsin. But prior to that they lived in Minnesota, New York, New Jersey and Alaska..again. Barb holds an Associate Degree from Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York. Widowed since 2009 after 52 great years, she continues to travel, most often by ship and train.

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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