Trusted TV mothers write tell-all books

Published 11:30 am Monday, August 19, 2013

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

I am crushed! I am shocked! Mrs. Partridge and Mrs. Brady are not who they appeared to be. Now they are letting us all know who they really are.

Mrs. Brady of “The Brady Bunch” was the perfect TV mom. “Here’s the story, Of a lovely lady, Who was bringing up three very lovely girls. All of them had hair of gold, Like their mother, The youngest one in curls.”

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That is how the Brady Bunch theme song described Mrs. Brady. She lived up to our expectations.

Mrs. Partridge was a widowed mother with five children. Her character was a good mom trying to keep her five children on the straight and narrow. Everyone loved Shirley Partridge. Shirley Jones who played Shirley Partridge also played other squeaky clean characters in musicals and so on.

Mrs. Brady, Florence Henderson, and Mrs. Partridge, Shirley Jones, have both written autobiographies telling all. I must admit I am only basing my opinion on book reviews as I haven’t read these books and I do not plan to.

Mrs. Brady’s, Florence Henderson’s book, according to reports had dated one of her young co-stars and details more of her sexual life in the book. Mrs. Partridge’s, Florence Henderson’s book, according to reviews, highlights many sexual moments and details of her escapades.

Did I think these two people were really Mrs. Brady and Mrs. Partridge? Absolutely not. I must admit I will never watch the reruns of the two shows with the same eyes again. I will always remember the remarks I have read in the news stories.

What baffles me is why at their age, they felt the need to write these books and highlight things most people would like to keep hidden or private in their lives. Do they need that much attention at this point in their lives and are they so in need of money that they needed to reveal all? They do say sex sells, and I must admit, had their books been normal autobiographies, I imagine it would not have gotten the press and sales these books have.

We are voyeurs. I must admit there were moments I wanted to snap up the books, but there was something inside of me that said, “Do I really need to know this?”

It appears I am in the minority as Shirley Jones book hit the bestseller list. I like Shirley Jones and Florence Henderson, but I felt I didn’t need to know about them that up close and personal.

We have all done things in our lives that are probably out of character for the people we appear to be on the outside to the public. These moments are probably things we have kept silent about for many years. Missteps in our youth or mistakes in our lives or even some fun that we do not want others to know about might disappoint those we love, that look up to us for guidance. Remember the quote, “Do as I say and not as I do.” We don’t want others to know what we did for various reasons.

I have to think the regular everyday person would not want to write a tell-all book about themselves. There are just some things that need to stay private. I would be willing to bet anyone could probably write a book and put things in there that they had kept hidden. If it were published and the news media became aware of it, it would become a hit.

The regular person probably burns old diaries and gets rid of things they don’t want their kids and grandkids to find after they are six feet under. They do not want their memory to be tarnished.

Hermione Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt, Granny, the character in my book “Granny Hooks A Crook,” has many secrets. She had to be the role model for her kids and keep the impishness and a side of herself hidden to be a good daughter to her parents and to be a good role model for her kids. She put that part of herself aside out of love until she got older and her parents were gone and her kids were raised. As she got older and she lived alone and didn’t have to “raise up her kids” anymore and be respectful of her parents, she could let that impishness out again.

Some of it was done in private because she still cared what her kids thought. Granny could write a tell-all book that would knock people’s socks off, but she wouldn’t because when all is said and done, impishness and craziness aside, what Granny cares about the most is the legacy and the memories she leaves behind for her children, grandchildren and friends.

What authors need to remember about tell-all books is that families and friends have to live with the media aftermath. The words you write and the words that are printed affect more than just you. I think most of us feel the way Granny does. What memories do we want to leave behind for those that will remember us?

Again, I just don’t get it? Shirley Jones and Florence Henderson, to borrow a quote from Dr. Phil: What were you thinking?


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at