The Good Deeds Club

Or: How to do good things

Law 1: only girls are allowed in the club
Law 2: only girls who are not members of any other gang 
          are allowed in the club
Law 3: club membership-pins and armbands 
          have to be worn all the time
Law 4: our actions are top secret
Law 5: we want to do good deeds!

Those were the rules of our Good Deeds Club. Go on the street and do good. It was probably the easiest way to start: with old people. Old people were sad, alone und almost always needed some sort of help, we thought.

So our first good-deed action started.

For a whole afternoon we cut our painting books into pieces, coloured the pre-printed motives and glued the pictures onto rainbow paper. There was no time for more personal artistic work. After all, we didn’t only want to make one grandma or grandpa happy, no, it was meant to be fair.

The next day we placed ourselves in front of the local supermarket, the pictures stored in Birgit’s little red recorder bag so they wouldn’t get crumpled, and waited.

Birgit was the leader. She was older than me, had made up our rules and decided everything — she was my best friend. The others from the kindergarten group ‘the tigers’ belonged either to Tim’s stupid detective club or to silly Melanie’s Lets-Play-Runaways Gang. Only two remained for the Good Deeds Club — Birgit and me.

The moving door opened and finally — wearing a typical grandma’s woollen knitted hat and dragging a shopping bag on wheels behind her — an old lady came out of the supermarket. Certainly she must be terribly lonesome and sad!

"Excuse me, we are from the Good Deeds Club. We would like to cheer you up. Would you like to choose a picture?" Birgit held the handles of the bag wide open. The woman reached into her coat pocket, produced two 50 Pfennig coins and pressed them into my hand. "Go buy an ice cream", and she was gone. WITHOUT a picture.

Birgit and me agreed: that shouldn’t happen again.

The next old lady smiled. She put down her shopping nets and we proudly told her of our great plan. She put her glasses on as we showed her the pictures and mumbled "nice, nice" all the time. Then she rummaged in her shopping bag: brandy chocolates. And she disappeared.

Later, a mound of sweets in front of us and with 6 Marks for our piggy bank, we were sitting in Birgit’s room. A new plan needed to be made. Next time people would not get rid of us so easily.

Illustration by Kaska Lipinska

Again, the supermarket was our meeting point. "Excuse me, we are from the Good Deeds Club and would like to make you happy. Can we help you carrying your bags home?" we greeted the first elderly looking man loaded up with a bunch of shopping bags. He winked. "Sorry, folks, my daughter is waiting for me in the car. Better save your strength for the playground!"

It seemed as if we needed a more stubborn strategy.

The moving door opened. An old lady came out. "Hello Mrs, we are from …" As we moved towards her and grabbed her shopping bag, she started to yell at us. "Weren’t you here yesterday? Enough begging! Now you even want to rob an old lady? Band of thieves!"

Shocked, startled and sad, we made our way home. All we had tried to do was to brighten up the everyday life of some elderly people and now a disaster like this.

One thing was clear in our minds. The thing about the good deeds in the world wasn’t as easy as our kindergarten nanny wanted to make us believe by reading fairytales and bible stories.

Next day we decided to change sides. Maybe it was easier to fight the bad by joining the Detective-Club than to be a force for the good in the Good Deeds Club.

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