Tag Archives: Brady Bunch

February 2017 column Glo Magazine: Here’s the Story…

florence-henderson-smileEvery once in a while, my writing career allows me to do something that I think is really cool. So cool in fact, that if I were to go back in time and tell my younger self it was going to happen…I probably wouldn’t believe me. Over the years, I have interviewed my musical idol (twice), called my childhood celebrity crush, met legendary journalists and best-selling authors, hung out with athletic icons and conversed with the man who, this month, will become the Vice-President of the United States. However, one of the stories I am proudest of is my interview with America’s Favorite TV Mom and Dale, Indiana native, Florence Henderson.

I cannot recall a time in my life when I was not crazy about The Brady Bunch. Although I cannot remember watching it when it originally aired, I rarely missed an episode in syndication. Coming from a small, nuclear household, I loved everything about the hustle and bustle of having a big, blended family like the Brady’s. I wanted problems that could be solved in 30 minutes or by building a house of cards. I wanted enough talented siblings to start a singing group. I wanted to square dance in the living room. And most of all, I wanted a mother who had nothing better to do with her day than to help me track down my lost diary, perform “Wherever We Go” at my high school talent show or help me stalk Davy Jones and convince him to take me to the spring prom.

Don’t misunderstand me, my real-life mother was a lovely lady, but she was no Florence Henderson. She couldn’t sing, didn’t needlepoint and (thankfully) did not wear her hair in a horrible mullet. In fact, the only things she had in common with Carol Brady was her Hoosier heritage and that she occasionally made pork cops and applesauce for supper.

Through my interview, I would learn that even though Florence Henderson was Carol Brady, she was more multifaceted than her television counterpart. Born on Valentine’s Day into a large, but poor Catholic family, Henderson grew up near the Ohio River, was taught by the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana and moved to New York at the age of 17 thanks to the financial support of some personal friends.

She was the “Today Girl” on NBC’s Today Show, was the first woman to sit behind Johnny Carson’s desk on The Tonight Show, appeared on Broadway in a number of productions, did a stint on Dancing With The Stars and was a spokesperson for everything from Wesson Oil to Polident and most recently, the LG ProBake Convection oven. She was a regular fixture at the Indianapolis 500, a benefactress to the nuns who educated her, and a consummate professional who was devoted to her family, her television children and fans.

“I have been very blessed in my career,” she said in the interview. “I love what I do and I am always thinking the best role is just around the corner. I’ve always said I’d think about retiring when I’m 95! I love the challenge of performing in front of a live audience.”

She was certainly blessed and for all of us “Brady kids” around the world, we were blessed to have been impacted by her through those 117 zany episodes. The loss of Henderson on Thanksgiving at the age of 82 is a difficult one to accept. She was our surrogate parent who was there to greet us after school. She kept us company until dinner time and showed us that even though life isn’t perfect, we can achieve a happy ending provided that we find out what we do best and then do our best with it and no matter what, “don’t play ball in the house.”

RIP Florence, we’ll miss you.

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Fabulous Fridays: 19 Kids and all kinds of problems?

dfamily     In case you haven’t heard about this latest reality TV debacle..let me clue you in: According to a Washington Post article, on the heals of the cancellation of TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” approximately 100,000 people have signed a petition to have  “19 Kids and Counting” removed from the network as well due to the anti-gay statements made by members of the Duggar family.

In the article, matriarch Michelle Duggar is under fire for her position on an anti-discrimination ordinance in Arkansas which prohibits businesses and public accommodations from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Exercising her right to free speech, Michelle recorded a message in which she felt that this ordinance was tantamount to allowing male predators access to women’s and girls’ restrooms putting females at risk. (I’m paraphrasing for brevity)

I’ll admit that this assessment may be extreme, but then again I’m not sure how I would feel about a “guy” barging into the Ladies’ room. I guess if he looked like a woman I wouldn’t know and therefore it wouldn’t be an issue, but if he looked like a dude and was just in touch with his feminine side…it might creep me out. Then again, I might think he was drunk and read the sign wrong. Of course if I was the individual in question, I think I would plan to empty my bladder before leaving the house if for no other reason than to avoid this kind of quandary in the first place. (Honestly…I have NEVER giving this any consideration before so I guess I have Michelle Duggar to thank for bringing it to my attention and encouraging me to think about it. Who knew she was so progressive?)

Potty petitions aside, folks are also up in arms over oldest son Josh Duggar’s employment with the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. because they are known for their traditional stance on marriage and of course when the family encouraged other married couples to post “kissing” pictures to their social media page,  everyone was shocked when a gay couple (who are fans of the show) posted their pic, which was promptly removed from the site. (The poster was also banned.)

All of this begs the question: Is THIS the Duggar family scandal we’ve been waiting for?

Dear God, I hope not. I mean seriously people! Show of hands as to how many of us are genuinely surprised by the mega-family’s position on any of this? From the very get-go they have said that they have “very conservative values” (seriously, it was part of the show’s opening) they don’t believe in girls wearing pants, boys not having a collared shirt, traditional dating rituals, holding hands prior to engagement, or kissing before the wedding ceremony. In what parallel universe does it even make sense that they would “support” the LGBT platform? This is not a scandal, this is a bunch of people being shocked by the obvious!

I personally was banking on something far more risqué out of the clan. Personally, I wanted to see one of their own children come out of the closet in order to force a “put up or shut up” situation Either we will watch some child be shunned, or they will have no choice than to do an about face. My gaydar is notoriously flawed so I won’t venture a guess as to who it might be, but statistically speaking, with that many  people in one family…one of them has to be. I also had visions of tattoos, piercings and Jackson running off to join a heavy metal band, but that’s just me. I have fantasies that sooner or later one of them will write a best-selling tell all which will make headlines globally…and I truly do hope that Jinger gets her chance to live in the big city someday.

Don’t misunderstand me…I like the Duggars and I like their show. It’s refreshing to see a show where every other word isn’t bleeped, where they are unwilling to compromise their religious values, where the children respect their parents and there isn’t a lot of drama. But what do I know? I liked the “Brady Bunch” and “Eight is Enough” as well. The Duggars may not be the Bradys or the Bradfords, but they have never hidden what they are. They have never been judgmental on their show (even when producers have tried to corner them) and they have not used media outlets to spout their personal convictions. I don’t think it is fair to expect them to suspend their beliefs indefinitely and even if I don’t agree with everything that they stand for, I believe that they have the right to do it and I don’t act all shocked when the obvious emerges.

My father always taught me that there are moments when you have to pick your battles and this isn’t the right one, people. I guess the old adage is true, the most uncommon thing is common sense. If you don’t agree with the family’s values, don’t watch the show…but I guarantee that no petition in the world is going to make those people change their minds or apologize for what they believe in and why should they? Are they not as entitled to their beliefs as much as the next person? Why not find a loving gay couple with a passel of children and give them a show as well? I would totally watch that!

But for heaven’s sake…don’t cancel the Duggars…at least not until one of them goes rogue!




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