Monday, June 2, 2014

Ann B. Davis: hello & goodbye (and a brief but personal memory if that’s okay)

AnnBDavis

 

Well, it’s been a day since Ann B. Davis passing, and I can’t help but feel a little sad.  I’m just another one of the hundred million Brady fans out there who watched the show and wished for an Alice for our bunch as well.  She was just one of the guys, a friend and confidante, but an adult when you needed her to be.  And c’mon, who wouldn’t want to come home from school and find Alice in your kitchen basting a giant meatloaf?

There’s nothing I can say here that hasn’t been already said or felt in a thousand other places, other than a brief moment when I got to meet Ms. Davis in person.

In the early 1990s, a couple years after I’d moved to Pittsburgh and worked downtown at the Department of Aging, I received a call one afternoon from my friend Sue (a contractor like me who worked at another county office, MHMR).  She said “Doug, it’s Sue—I’m calling from Warner Centre, Terry & I came up here for lunch and guess who was right behind us on the stairs?  Alice from the Brady Bunch!”  

At the time, it was known that Ann had settled in Ambridge, Pa (about 15 miles north of Pittsburgh) some years before.  (She was very religious and lived with an Episcopalian minister’s family.)  Anyway, Sue knew of my love for the Bradys & said “you better get down here!”

 Warner Centre on Fifth Avenue, downtown; it was a movie theater for most of Pittsburgh’s history, but become a collection of shops with a food court on the second floor by the time I moved to town

I said “Well Sue, I’d feel kinda silly…” and she said “C’mon, it’s just around the corner!”  I grabbed my coat and ran for the elevator.

When I got inside and up the stairs, I looked about for Terry & Sue, and saw them sitting in front of the Chinese place.  Sue motioned towards the Chick-fil-a, and I saw her:  Ann B. Davis, with her purse on a chair, a Kaufmann’s shopping bag at her feet, and eating by herself.  I was in shock, other than 3-4 people who were watching her from a table nearby, where were the hordes of fans?  I shrugged my shoulders at Sue, and walked up to Ann’s table.  I said  “Excuse me, Ms. Davis, hi I’m sorry for interrupting your lunch… I just wanted to say hello and that I’m a big fan.  I’m sure you get that a lot.”  She smiled at me and said “Yes I DO get that a lot, but thank you.  What’s your name?”  I said “Um.. Doug” and she said “Well it was nice meeting you Doug, take care and God bless.”  Feeling embarrassed, I smiled and nodded quickly and backed away, and hurried down the stairs and back to the office.  Later that day,  Sue called me & said “Why didn’t you join us at our table?  You could’ve watched her read her magazine!” and we both had a good laugh.   Still, it was a moment I’ll never forget.

Michelle & me at lunch, Warner Center downtown

My former coworker Michele & myself at the Warner Centre food court, back in it’s heyday

The ironic thing here is, just a couple months ago I learned that Warner’s food court was shut down, closed in 2005.  And I was reminded of the many good times there with friends, and meeting Ms. Davis in person.

 

 

Ann, take care & God Bless

2 comments:

  1. Great story, Doug, and a nice tribute to the lady. I think a lot of people felt like they knew "Alice" because the character came across as so darn nice and approachable. I'm glad to hear that Ann B. Davis apparently was that same way as herself.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Pam! I was actually going to share this story a year or so ago, but after this weekend I knew it was time. I think Ann lived just the life she wanted--we should all be so fortunate.

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