A Bundle of Bandlos

May 10, 2007 | 45 comments
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45 Responses to A Bundle of Bandlos

  1. Left Field on May 10, 2007 at 12:38 am

    I am certain that mine from the late ’60s / early ’70s is still stashed away in my mother’s cedar chest. I remember them being called “bandalos,” though. I guess I really had no idea how it was spelled. Perhaps the extra syllable tended to be added for euphony, to counteract the difficulty in pronouncing the three consonants in a row.

  2. Ardis Parshall on May 10, 2007 at 12:47 am

    You’re right, Left Field, about the way people always pronounced it. The lesson manuals and other church-issued materials uniformly spell it without a middle vowel, though. (Pronouncing the word with three syllables seems to make it more likely that we got the word from “bandoleer,” too.)

  3. m&m on May 10, 2007 at 2:00 am

    I’ve never heard anyone talk about the Merrie Miss markers. Anyone experience those? (I don’t still have mine, but remember it.)

  4. meems on May 10, 2007 at 2:41 am

    Yes, yes, m&m. I believe I still have a Merrie Miss marker, if the thing I have is what a Merrie Miss Marker is! The thing I have is this long scroll like piece of material. We had to embroider something at the bottom in yarn. The top part had these little plastic bubble like jewels with adhesive on the back and little science inside them, like Ardis mentioned above. Is this what you’re referring to?

  5. Eve on May 10, 2007 at 2:52 am

    meems, yep, I remember doing that thing, complete with the lumpy embroidery and plastic colored jewels one glued on for passing off Articles of Faith. I’ve long since discarded mine, though (given my embroidery skills, even at age 11 I could see that mine was…well, not quite up to snuff).

    Does anyone else remember the Targeteer banners?

  6. Mark IV on May 10, 2007 at 5:07 am

    Thanks, Ardis. This is fascinating. I remember my older sisters wearing their bandlos (we called them ‘bandalos’ too) and passing off various requirements in order to get more plastic things to glue on.

    It is hard for me to get a good read on Aurelia Spencer Rogers. I’ve done a quick online search, but I was unable to determine if she had any sons of her own. Didn’t her original plan call for dressing the boys in uniform, and forcing them to sing while marching in formation? The prospect of that makes me laugh out loud, and I simply can’t imagine anybody who had ever been around boys thinking it would be productive. It seems like a guaranteed way to produce even more recalcitrant and defiant behavior.

  7. Jonathan Green on May 10, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Ardis, once again, this is absolutely fascinating, and I had absolutely no idea. I wonder how strongly the Cub Scout program influenced the development of Primary. Singing while marching in formation wasn’t exactly unknown in other youth programs, although a lot depends on the implementation.

  8. Russell Arben Fox on May 10, 2007 at 7:27 am

    I missed the bandalos, but I also had one of those scroll markers up on the wall of my bedroom. I remember feeling rather proud when I’d passed off all 13 Articles of Faith and had all the spaces on my scroll filled in. I also remember the Targeteer flags.

  9. Left Field on May 10, 2007 at 7:35 am

    To this day, my mother refers to a Boy Scout merit badge sash as a bandlo.

  10. Left Field on May 10, 2007 at 8:10 am

    I remember it being sometimes challenging to get the plastic emblems to stick to the bandlo. As I recall, Elmer’s glue would work, but I seem to remember that there was a special glue that was supposed to work better. I think the glue might have been supplied by the church, but perhaps it was some commercial glue that experience had shown to be effective. Did you run across any information about a special glue? Of course, you couldn’t wash the bandlo, or the emblems would likely fall off. I also recall having to be careful to keep the bandlo more or less flat and folded, lest being crumpled up would cause the emblems to separate from the felt.

  11. Mark B. on May 10, 2007 at 8:21 am

    Yep, you’re right about the pronunciation. And, as soon as you quit wearing your bandalo, you could go get your patriartical blessing.

    One minor point–by the mid 60’s, we never called the 11 year old boys Guides. The class was called the Guide Patrol, but for some reason we never called the individual members guides. Was that just the Provo Eighth or Edgemont 3rd Ward, or was that common in other parts of the church then?

  12. Left Field on May 10, 2007 at 8:41 am

    I think you’re right, Mark. I think usually, the only time the class was called just “Guides” would have been when you referred to all three classes together. The common designation was Guide Patrol. The Guide Patrol was of course equivalent to what used to be called the Blazer Patrol or Blazer Scouts, and now I think is just called “11-year-old Scouts.” I remember thinking it was kind of strange when they started calling first year Scouts “Blazers” because that had always referred to younger boys before they became Boy Scouts. I think there was a Guide Patrol patch for the scout uniform that depicted the same red arrow emblem that went on the bandlo.

    One detail Ardis didn’t mention is that the hatchet symbol for the Blazers and the associated Articles of Faith numbers for that year were yellow. The Trekker emblem and numbers were blue, and the Guide emblem and numbers were red.

  13. Kevin Barney on May 10, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Terrific article, Ardis. I remember fondly my green Trail Buiilder bandlo (we too prnounced it with three syllables, and I think your proposed etymology is correct), which was like the last one on the left in your illustrations. I grew up in northern Illinois, so the program existed even in our little branch away from the Mormon corridor. Of course, most of the Bloggernacle is too young to have experienced these things in person. (Unfortunately, I’m quite sure my bandlo is no longer in existence.)

    I do have a strong recollection of how motivating it was to get those new little plastic symbols to be able to glue them onto your bandlo.

  14. John Mansfield on May 10, 2007 at 9:17 am

    As my boys work on their Faith in God awards, I’ve felt a little sorry for them that they don’t have Blazer banners. A dozen years ago, while my wife was in a primary presidency, names for the classes (by that point just Sunbeams, CTRs, and Valiants) were eliminated. The Sunbeam name returned quickly, and CTR also at some point. Right after the name purge, though, I saw one ward in the stake where the class numbers, all that was left, were fashioned into names. For example, the class for 7-year-olds was The Sevens.

  15. Left Field on May 10, 2007 at 9:33 am

    I’m not obsessed with bandlos, really, I just keep thinking of more things to say. Kevin is correct; I think they were used at least throughout the US and probably churchwide. I remember them from various regions of the country where my family moved during the ’60s.

    At the time, I didn’t really know anything about the girls’ bandlos except that they had different emblems and had the little jewel things. I was interested from Ardis’ article to learn that the girls had a lot more stuff they could do to earn emblems. The boys really didn’t do anything for bandlo emblems but memorize the Articles of Faith. Perhaps the idea was that the boys were earning awards in scouting, and the girls’ bandalo was to provide similar recognition. However, none of the scouting awards were for the sort of religious achievements recognized on the girls’ bandlo. I haven’t had a Primary calling since the mid ’80s, so I wonder how the boys and girls classes compare now in recognition of spiritual acheivements. Do they even still have separate boys and girls classes any more?

  16. Ardis Parshall on May 10, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Oh, you can say you’re not obsessed, Left Field … :-) Really, it’s fun to get up this morning and see so many memories stirred overnight.

    Elmer’s glue was the third recommended glue; epoxy was second, and airplane dope was most recommended. The teachers’ manuals often suggested that the teacher rather than the children glue on the emblems, noting that the better glues required good ventilation, should be spread to the very edge of the emblem so that there would be no loose edges to catch and pull off, and should be weighted and left for several hours to dry thoroughly before moving. My teachers must have done that, because except for the top of the Firelight flame, all my emblems are still very firmly glued down.

    The rhinestone jewels were applied with a special tool that forced the four prongs of a metal fastener through the fabric from the back, then clamped the prongs down over the faceted sides of the jewel to hold it in place. None of my jewels has fallen out, either.

    Just as the boys’ pieces were color coordinated between the class symbols and the Articles of Faith numbers, the Gaynote symbol and 1-4 were white; the Firelight symbol and 5-9 were yellow; and the Merrihand symbol and 10-13 were pink. With the tendency to assign meaning to every imaginable trait, I’ll have to find out whether the colors had any significance.

    Mark IV, if your trouble in getting a read on Aurelia Spencer Rogers is because you can’t decide whether she was a kindly mother to the neighborhood or a dictatorial goosestepper, come down on the side of kindly mother. She favored singing and good manners, and community gardens and helping little old ladies across muddy streets. While there has been marching through most of the history of Primary (last time I taught Stars on weekdays, we held regular Star parades around the cultural hall or the whole building, to burn off energy), it was always in the nature of a rest exercise or fun parade, not as a drill team and certainly not as lockstep regimentation. Remember too that chilidren saw adults marching regularly — soldiers, political parades, marching bands on holidays and during conventions — was just what you did when you moved to march music, which was a favorite form of popular music for decades. And Aurelia had lots of little boys of her own.

  17. Lupita on May 10, 2007 at 10:31 am

    Although this was before my time, I do recall my mom talking about her bandlo. I’ll have to call her and see if she still knows where it is.
    As a Valiant-9 teacher, I can’t help but think how much more complicated the role of a teacher must have been back then. I’m patting myself on the back when I remember to prepare my lesson–remembering proper glue, accessories, etc. would be a total nightmare.
    However, I would love to see our Primary do a community garden!

  18. John Mansfield on May 10, 2007 at 11:02 am

    The Church museum has a little web display with visuals for these things Sister Parshall has described: link.

  19. CS Eric on May 10, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Those bandlos (and we also pronounced them with three syllables) were one of the few things I remember enjoying about Primary. I don’t know if mine is still packed in a box somewhere. If it is, I am sure several of the emblems have fallen off–we couldn’t get those darn things to stay on.

  20. J. Stapley on May 10, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    This is a wonderful essay, Ardis. I seem to remember some of those round pictures from my youth, perhaps from my older siblings, but had no idea until now of what they were. This effort seems to be reflective of the greater society as well as the shifts in Aaronic priesthood organization. The Progressive Movement of the early portion of the century, with its scientific measurements and organizational efficiency, would seem to be a primary source for these developments.

  21. Marjorie Conder on May 10, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks to John Mansfield for the link. I don’t know how to do that. I was however the curator of the exhibit featured. I very much enjoyed Ardis’ original post. But I do have a few additions and/or ammendments to make.

    While Sister Rogers originally intended the organization to be for boys, girls were added early on “to make the singing sound better.”

    The boys and girls classes were never separated out until age nine, although the first named classes for 7-8 years olds was the ZBs and ZGs (Zion’s Boys and Girls) These classes morphed into a series of “Pilot” classes which later became the Targeteers, then CTRs. The focus of all of these classes was to prepare children to be baptized.

    The “Homebuilders” as the collective name for the older girls’ classes lasted through the late 50s when they became Lihomas.

    The MiKanWee program was an effort to placate the girls who had been left behind in Primary, even as the boys were moved into MIA to be part of the Scouts. The girls never liked that (they thought–and rightly so–that they were more “grown-up” than the 12-13 year old boys and if anyone was to have been moved up it should have been them.) After a couple of difficult years trying to get the girls to accept the MiKanWee program, they too were moved into MIA)

    The boys also had green felt bandlos, at least through the end of WWII. The colors of their awards were different than the girls’ but I can’t remember the specifics now. The girls’ bandlos were maroon at least through the late 1950s, but had changed to light green by the end of the 50s.

    Cub Scouts were not added to the Primary program until the mid 50s to meet the competition of other churches and groups who were were siphoning Mormon boys off of Primary into their own Cub Scouting programs. The Church had tried to draw and line and not have Mormon boys involved in Cub Scouts, but the pressures were apparently so great that it became a matter of “if you can’t beat them join them”. Incidently the comment from Mark about Sister Rogers possible draconian approach of little boys in uniforms and marching around made me laugh. Little boys (and lots of big ones too) love uniforms and marching around–the scouts do it all the time.

    Ardis forgot to mention the “Little Skylights” names for the youngest classes in the early 1960s. Three year olds were Moonbeams, 4s were Sunbeams, 5s were Stars and 6s were Rainbows. I think the “Hippie” movement of the 1960s put a quick end to these names.

    As to Primary children and awards now, this is a sore spot with me. (I was in our Primary Pres–most of the time as Pres for 8 years, only being released last Fall.) The boys, of course, get LOTS of awards in Cub Scouts. I somethimes thought they were getting “awards for breathing”. The sisters in these families who were at pack meetings supporting their brothers were often so excited to become scouts too so they could get all those awards. I always found it a bit sad, especially since by directive from Church headquarters any tangible awards for the girls through the Achievement Days program became forbidden. I was in at least 3 meetings with a Primary General Board member in attendance when questions about this disparity were raised. The answer always was,”the boys need it the girls don’t”. I don’t understand that answer, having witnesses how eagarly the girls worked for their awards and remembering how motivational bandlos and such were for me as a child. The disparity between girls and boys programs is way more apparent now than ever before (at least maybe since the MiKanWees) and the girls do notice.

    I’ll climb down off my soapbox and follow the rest of your comments as they emerge.

  22. manaen on May 10, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Loved this — the drawing of the ’50’s “bandalo” with the tree at the bottom and the numbers caused one of those surprisingly clear recollections of mine — probably still hanging in a closet in my parents’ home. Yes, keeping things glued to the felt was a trick!

  23. Ardis Parshall on May 10, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    I’m enjoying hearing of all the memories triggered by discussion of bandlos!

    Marjorie has jumped the gun a bit, anticipating a series of posts I plan to do over the next few months about how we transmit the gospel to the next generation, and how our methods have evolved through our history as a church. The belief in a generations-long disparity between the boys’ and girls’ programs is a recurrent theme in the bloggernacle — I’ve contributed to it myself — yet when I went back to the original sources (the lesson manuals, leaders’ supplements, training materials, published reports of activities), I very much began to question the conventional wisdom. My next post on this theme, which I probably won’t put up for a couple of weeks, looks at how 11-year-olds, both boys and girls, are taught about the priesthood and their personal responsibilities and privileges in connection with the priesthood. The results of that study go very much against the conventional wisdom — our assumptions, even our personal memories, are not always reliable guides to what really was.

    I hope there will be some interest in this series.

  24. Anita on May 10, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    My cousin and I are writing our grandmother’s life story for her 85th birthday next month, and there has been much family discussion about the proper spelling of “bandlo” in our text, so this was a very timely and interesting post for me! Makes you wonder how different things will be in a generation or two as the Church programs progress and change.

  25. Wilfried on May 10, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Fascinating, Ardis. I don’t think we ever had those in the mission field in Europe (and I have been in the Church since the 1960s), but, then again, we hardly had any children of primary age either. But I do remember seeing pictures with those bandlos in the English Church magazines of decades ago. They were part the “fully Mormon world” in the Far West we could only dream about.

  26. Lupita on May 10, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Ardis, I am definitely looking forward to your additional posts–I’m very interested in how the gospel is transmitted to the next generation. Thank you for your research!!

  27. m&m on May 10, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Ardis,
    By the way, I neglected to say that once again, I’m impressed. You have a gift that is very far from my realm and it’s amazing to me. Thanks for sharing a little of your knowledge and talent with us.

  28. Alison Moore Smith on May 10, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Too fun, Ardis.

    I’ve never heard anyone talk about the Merrie Miss markers. Anyone experience those?

    Are you kidding? I still HAVE my Merrie Miss banner. I crocheted it in spring green and yellow, emblazoned it with a horrendously ugly 5th grade school photo, and preceded to put all my articles of faith circles, PLUS the special little bronze sticky things on them. It is a treasure.

    Darn, Eve, I wanted to be the first to mention the Targeteer flag! We are the few, chosen, who got to experience those! We did the stitching on the outside edge (the boys, too) and then got a ribbon to tie to the top of the stick for each incredible thing we did.

    Bandlos were part of the program for both boys and girls during the classes for 9-, 10-, and 11-year-olds.

    You mean there was a time in the church when the girls had a program just as cool as the boys?

  29. Mark B. on May 10, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    I think I lived in an Elmer’s Glue ward.

    When you’ve finished with the bandlos, Ardis, you should move into the realm of the women teaching the boys in the Trekkers and the Guide Patrol. That meant that the Trekkers teacher spent a considerable amount of time teaching the boys to tie square knots, clove hitches, two-half-hitches and sheet bends so they could earn their Tenderfoot scout badges. And it meant the Guide Patrol teacher would go on at least some of the three five-mile hikes the boys needed to earn their second class scout badges by the time they turned 12. (There was an older boy/young man assigned to work with us too. He went with us on the more vigorous hikes and wilder activities that Sister Thomas didn’t come on. And, he showed up sometimes on Wednesday afternoons–he was a college student and could escape early those days–to help teach scouting things during Primary.

    I still remember my mother working to learn those knots so she could teach her knot-headed bunch of 10-year-olds in the Trekkers.

  30. Mark B. on May 10, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    Targeteer, Schmargeteer, Multi-level Marketeer!

    We got real plastic wings when we were Co-Pilots and Top Pilots.

    Nyaah, Nyaah, Nyaahhh!!

  31. Left Field on May 10, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    I can top that, Mark. I still have my plastic Top Pilot wings. I also have the Top Pilot Flightbook. You can see a picture if you go to the Primary Museum website and click on “primary programs.” Yes, I’m a packrat.

    However, I don’t remember having CTR rings when I was a CTR Pilot. In fact, I don’t think I even became aware of them until I was an adult. When did they start giving those out?

  32. Tony on May 10, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    The bandlos remind me of the sash worn with certain Masonic jewels, particularly in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

    Masonic jewel and sash

    Just sayin’…

  33. Hans Hansen on May 11, 2007 at 12:45 am

    #29. “That meant that the Trekkers teacher spent a considerable amount of time teaching the boys to tie square knots, clove hitches, two-half-hitches and sheet bends so they could earn their Tenderfoot scout badges.”

    Don’t forget the timber hitch, the double sheet bend, the sheepshank, the bowline, the taut-line hitch, the fisherman’s bend, and, or course, the granny knot!

  34. Carolee on May 11, 2007 at 1:21 am

    I actually just came across mine the other day while I was going through a box looking for some pictures. It’s circa late 60s and I remember being very proud that I earned every jewel possible.

  35. tj on May 11, 2007 at 2:12 am

    i joined the church in 1961 and saw a lot of those banners in the homes of my lds friends.
    the big thing for me was M-Men and Golden Gleaners but that too has gone away

  36. Alison Moore Smith on May 11, 2007 at 2:14 am

    Crewel embroidery. Even as a craft retard, I really do know the difference between embroidery and crochet.

    When you’ve finished with the bandlos, Ardis, you should move into the realm of the women teaching the boys in the Trekkers…

    You mean there was a time when the church leaders reinforced allegiance to Captain Kirk and Doctor Spock?

  37. ukann on May 11, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Ah memories! Wilfried, I can confirm that in the 60’s the bandlos were alive and well in the European mission field, at least in England. I well remember giving out the emblems as a teacher. Ours were a bottle green shade of felt.

  38. Space Chick on May 11, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Maybe we should just put all the girls into Scouting too–stop calling it “Boy” Scouts and let everyone learn the same skills and get awards. I was in an Explorer post in high school and loved it. Or we could go back to the Lark, Bluebird etc days–it sounds like a program we could resurrect!

  39. Ardis Parshall on May 11, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    36: Mr. Spock, Alison, Mr. Spock! The Mormon parents of my ’60s youth despised Doctor Spock’s permissiveness.

    Mr. Spock, on the other hand, was on TV the same night as MIA. Truly, truly a sacrifice for my older brother to choose between them.

  40. Alison Moore Smith on May 13, 2007 at 1:46 am

    Ardis, I stand most humbly corrected!

  41. paula on May 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Ardis, our ward had it worse. Sacrament Meeting was at 7:30 PM, so the farmers could milk the cows before attending. Ed Sullivan was on at 7. (And in those days, I didn’t know any mormons who objected to TV on Sunday. Sunday meant visiting relatives and friends, and usually watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and The Wonderful World of Disney while we were there). But our sacrament meeting time meant that we all could watch the first few minutes of Ed Sullivan, and then had to be pulled away by our parents (who probably wanted to watch it too). So I did see the first fifteen minutes of the one that the Beatles was on. The good thing about the TV schedule was that Gunsmoke was on at 9 PM, and none of the old guys in our ward would have dreamt of missing Gunsmoke, so even though Sacrament Meeting was an hour and a half then, we always got out about 10 minutes early.

  42. Hans Hansen on May 13, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    #41. Your post brought back memories of 1960s Sunday Night TV. Back then it was no big deal to watch TV on Sundays (this was in the SF Bay Area). My brother and I were big fans of “Bonanza”, “Ed Sullivan”, and “Gunsmoke”.

    Anyway, this one Sunday we had to go to my father’s cousin’s house for dinner. They were older (in their 60’s). After dinner the husband turned on the TV; my brother and I are thinking, “Oh good. Finally something to stop the boredom.” (we were both teenagers).

    He turns on “Championship Bowling”! After that show, he changes the channel to watch “Lawrence Welk”! We finally got out of there, got home and at least we were able to watch “Gunsmoke”!

  43. Paula Kelly Caryotakis on June 17, 2007 at 2:52 am

    I remember the bandalos very well. I *coveted* those things and couldn\’t WAIT to get one of my one. One Wednesday afternoon in September, I showed up at the first day of the new Primary year (back when we switched classes at the beginning of the school year) and was told that not only was I *not* going to get to be a Top Pilot (but instead was going to be a Targeteer) but the bandelos were now a thing of the past. I can still remember the HUGE disappointment that news was to me. I felt completely gypped.

    Yes, I still have my Merrie Miss banner. The words \”I will radiate the light of the Gospel\” are embroidered on the bottom in fuzzy gold and navy blue yarn. Someone in my class suggested we change our name from the Merrie Miss girls to the Radiators. I thought that was very funny.

    Does anyone remember the little bronze bracelets with the brightly colored plastic beads that went into the separate links once you earned them (one was the color of cheddar cheese)? I think those may have been some sort of precursor to Personal Progress. I have mine somewhere, but can\’t remember what they were for.

  44. Kristine on June 17, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Paula–I still have mine, too, but I only got as far as “I WILL RADI…” Probably explains a lot :)

    And, hi!!

  45. shirley burgon on April 16, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I still have mine, completed in the UK Manchester Stake in the early 60\’s . I had forgotten how I earned some of the jewels so thanks for the reminder! I have an old black and white photograph of Primary where we are wearing them. I remember that there were many variations on the colour of green, some a sickly pale down to the lovely bottle green ones. I remember the Gaynote song (probably can\’t sing that now and my 17 year old son thinks it\’s hilarious that we really sang that!) and the Pilot song my brother sang too. My mum was the Primary \”Mother\” what a wonderful title.
    I still have somewhere the blue \”sash\” that we wore in MIA as well.
    Lovely memories.