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Fiz 6.22.05 

Strife (and Bradys) in kidland

There's a bit of a diary inside a Brady Bunch record I bought at Goodwill the other day.

The record is not really of the Brady Bunch proper, but of the Brady Bunch Kids, the cartoon series from 1972. The song titles are spelled out in rebus, and they stretch the limits of whatever rules there are to rebuses. For "Saturday in the Park," you have "SAT-" and then a tardy slip with the word "Tardy" on it. I'm not sure that that counts. Extrapolating correct spellings from misspellings hardly seems the point. One of the girls wears a shirt that says "her" on it, and is followed by "-ry" for the word "hurry." Strangely, for their big hit, "It's a Sunshine Day," "shine" is indicated by a black eye on little cartoon Bobby, who seems really happy. Probably one of his older brothers gave it to him, but he's forgotten all about it now. Kids are like that.

Which brings me back to the diary, so full of the tumultuous life of a child. January 3: "I don't know whats happening but evrything is missing of mind my jury box then my ring and then my hair Blower well thats all for today." That's not quite all, because she then practices the symbol for cents, with a sole "b/w" mixed in --- probably the "backed with" symbol from the sleeve of a 45rpm single, meant to indicate the b-side. It's charming to think of a kid teaching herself the trappings of a culture that has now disappeared, but in which she was then immersed. And amazing that all her possessions are missing, yet once they have all been itemized, she is content to let it go without further speculation. Incidentally, you can hardly fault her for spelling "jewelry" as "jury," or "mine," "mind," since that is probably how it would have been spelled out on the record cover by the Brady Kids.

On January 6 we learn that a boy named Donny loves her; on the 8th a boy named Davy throws his hat in the ring. She is cool towards both, evidently, but does not record her responses. January 5: "I learning too skate real well I can backwards skate too and I go skating every saturday I go skating, I love to skate very much also this boy asked me to couple skate last time I went skating." (Period mine.)

January 9: "I wish I could get married. I don't know why I just do!" January 15: "I hate Lori Alspach she thinks shes something but shes not nothing but a Dummy. Today she was skating in her kitchen and she wouldn't Let me have a turn. So she said 'lets play checkers and then we will play something you won't to play. So I played. then we got through. I'm going to skate she said. I said I thought we were going to play something I wanted to play 'No' she said. I said why? then she said 'I hate you.'"

You turn the page. "This is Lori A.," it says. In red marker, taking up the rest of the page, is a fat devil with a horns and a pitchfork. On rollerskates. The devil is sad, miserable even, which is really more cutting than making Lori a fat devil on skates. Lori has issues, and our girl knows it.

The next day, she reports that she has a new room, and she hates it. And there the entries end.

--- Andy Davis

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