Monday, June 2, 2014
Not a Sunshine Day
Someone I grew up with passed away today. She has always been there as long as I can remember. I'd come home after school and spend an hour with her each weekday. She was a big part of my childhood. Her name was Ann, but most people knew her as "Alice." Alice Nelson, live-in housekeeper, girlfriend to Sam, surrogate parent to the Brady 6, friend to all.
I truly was sad to learn that Ann B. Davis had died. The Brady Bunch was a show that helped me escape the chaotic and tumultuous 70's, and I'm not just talking about the era. The decade was bad enough culturally speaking, the fashion, the music... Come on, "A Horse With No Name"? I fail to see the brilliance of that two-note versed song. And "Afternoon Delight"? Wait, I kind of like that one, but for the harmonies only. More specifically, I look back on that time span while I lived on Reimche (Rem-key) Drive and peeking through the windows of my mind... let's just say it wasn't very Brady-like.
So, those opening notes to that classic theme song would take me away to a two-storied house with an astroturf lawn, and let me forget for a while that there was unscripted reality swirling around me. The nine people living in that home without a toilet genuinely cared for each other (though I've noticed over my 40 years of watching reruns and dvd's that no one on that show ever uttered the words "I love you" to another family member, so I guess they're not perfect). They pulled together when bullies would tease little girls with lisps. They tried to solve each other's problems like performing on an amateur hour on TV to pay for an over-priced anniversary present (those kids always ended up on TV somehow!). They covered for each other by hiding goats in the attic. Squabbles over missing Kitty Carry-All dolls always turned into understanding. Accidents that caused orange hair were eventually forgiven. They took in wayward cousins even at the expense of killing their show.
It's a show, I know. With writers and actors and sets. None of it was real. But for this elementary aged kid, it was a great place to imagine living. And what's wrong with a little escapism? And what's wrong with still watching episodes 40 years later? It is not that I need to escape to Clinton Way with a dropped "y"at this stage in life, but it helps to know that I had the Brady's to tune in to when memories of childhood can be a little sad.
So, so long Ann B.. You were a part of something meaningful though it may have seemed mundane at the time. Thank you for being America's housekeeper. Nobody makes pork chops and applesauce like you.