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Growing up with Alice and the Brady Bunch

Associated Press
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I don’t know exactly why I’m sad that Ann B. Davis died.

I didn’t know her personally. I knew her only as Alice, the maid on “The Brady Bunch.” But sometime during the mid-to-late 70’s, she captured my heart.

As a kid, I raced home to watch the show reruns at 3:30 p.m. on some channel I could only get clearly if the antenna was just right. I’m not sure exactly what about made me like it so much. It’s not like I was having a horrible childhood and watching their idyllic lives made me hope that mine would someday be better. My life was good; it was me and my two brothers and our parents, happy and content.

But something about “The Brady Bunch” appealed to me. Maybe it was the fact that they had two stories in their home and to me that has always epitomized a “dream house.” Perhaps it was that they had brushes with famous people like Joe Namath and Davy Jones.

Most likely, it was that they had a maid named Alice.

It’s not that I wanted to have someone living with me who did all the cooking and cleaning, because Mom already did that for us while working full time. Alice was more than a maid. She was a completely selfless best friend to Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy. They all knew they could trust her if they had a problem they couldn’t share with their parents, and she’d help them out while making some pork chops and apple sauce for dinner. They loved Alice, even though we don’t know if they ever allowed her eat and she seemed to be on call 24 hours a day. Every once in a while, they would give her the night off and she could go bowling with her boyfriend Sam the Butcher. We can only hope that he gave her a special cut of meat if she bowled over a 100.

Alice was the kind of grown-up kids fantasize about. She was cool. How else would you describe this quote from Episode #52, “Juliet is the Sun.” Here’s how Alice described Marcia: “I know she’s groovy. You know she’s groovy. But she doesn’t know she’s groovy.” Oh, Alice, you’re so groovy.

I also loved her because I know that she cooked some bad-ass Mexican food and she described it as coming in “three degrees: hot, very hot  and pass the extinguisher.” I wish I could get a taste of Alice’s enchilada. I recall Alice playing basketball with the boys on more than one occasion which tells me that she didn’t take her job too seriously, but just seriously enough.

Davis was 43 when “The Brady Bunch” started. In my mind, she’s eternally 40-years-old, quick with the comeback and always prepared for dinner. In reality, she died at 88. It’s just another reminder that time keeps moving and every day that passes means our youth is a little bit farther away. I’m older than Alice now, even though it seems like only yesterday I was sitting at 2513 Plover Street in Victoria, Tex., watching “The Brady Bunch”after school. That was almost 40 years ago. If the next 40 years go by as quickly as the last 40 did, I better start appreciating what I have in this life.

This story originally appeared on The Bitchy Waiter.