My mother took me there, the first time I went to Brownies.

The church hall was too far for me to go alone

and I couldn’t be trusted to cross the main road.

It was like Fireflies, she said.

I liked Fireflies, and I could go there on my own.

They put on records for us to dance to

and the games we played were fun.

There was no music at Brownies.

Many of the children wore a brown uniform.

I didn’t like it, but I didn’t have to wear it

said the old woman in charge.

She was called Brown Owl.

She had a brown uniform as well.

With her fat upholstered body and tiny eyes,

she didn’t look like an owl to me.

I liked owls.

Arthur and I often planned to sneak into the woods

at night to see if we could find them.

We would be like the children in the Enid Blyton books then.

Brown Owl was bossy and made the children 

play silly games, not like Fireflies at all.

I sat at the side and watched at first,

but she said I had to join in later.

So when she wasn’t looking

I sneaked out and left.

I ran all the way home

where big trouble waited

even though I explained that

she had tried to boss me about

and make me play silly games.

So my first time at Brownies was also my last.

I never went back.

I never went to the woods with Arthur, either.


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