True Story©… And That’s The way…
[Phlip Note: this is a collaborative effort, cowritten by Mr. Ssippi]
Me: “Shouldn't the Brady Bunch DAUGHTERS have another last name other than Brady?”
We came to this conclusion through extensive research that Carol made Mike adopt all three kids. It worked out well as she had poisoned her daughters against their biological father and wanted to make sure that she and the girls had new surnames to make it difficult to find them. She'd run from the very concept of that flawed man she had married and left behind in a former life with no intention of revisiting. Mike Brady had a small inkling of what Carol and the girls had endured before their blended family came together, but he never got all the details. He didn't want to put Carol through the torture of rehashing those years for the benefit of his curiosity. He was from the old school, where trauma was best left undiscussed and in the past.
The erstwhile untold truth was that she killed her first husband and then she and her sister Marlene buried him in the desert.
Carol's first husband
Alton returned from his service in the Korean War a changed man. A haunted,
angry, and abusive man.
The relationship was what one might call the 1960s version of “toxic,” wherein Carol ridiculed him for things like not being able to make a son to carry the name
The couple had thought the quick succession of the three girls being born would save the marriage, but instead it created more strife in an already strained relationship.
It didn't start out violent though, first it was just getting loud and rude when he drank. Things didn't progress to physical violence until Alton lost his job at the mill.
"What kind of a MAN are you supposed to be, Alton!? Can't make a son, can't keep a job, drinking daily like a slovenly bum!" Carol would yell with her finger directly in his face. Things would come to a head when he threatened the youngest, Cindy. Carol, Marsha, and even little Jan tried to stop him but that only infuriated him more.
Carol: "I told you if you ever put your hands on me or MY daughters, I'd kill you!"
Alton: "YOUR daughters? Don't you mean OUR daughters?"
Carol: "Mama's babies, daddy's maybes"
When he returned home the following afternoon, no one was there and the locks had already been changed. In a rage, he stormed directly to Marlene's house demanding answers. The confrontation in the front yard was tense, but not violent and clearly not enough for the neighbors to alert the authorities. They left it with what Alton THOUGHT was an understanding and a mended bridge.
The very next day, Carol passed a box of rat poison at the grocery store and she began thinking seriously about her and the girls' futures. Along with the regular shopping, she bought that rat poison and decided that pot roast would be on the menu tonight.
Thinking things had
blown over with Carol and that he had sweet talked his way back into his wife's
good graces, Alton sat and enjoyed the pot roast while the girls stayed the
night with Aunt Marlene.
It wasn't until the worst stomachache he'd ever experienced began that he noticed the wry smile on Carol’s face as she sipped the glass of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill she had poured herself.
"Carol, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!!?" Alton demanded as he stood up from the table and charged toward her with a look of murder in his eyes.
It was too late...
When he began coughing up blood he knew exactly what she'd done, "You fucking, BITCH!" he kept repeating as he fell and curled up into the fetal position on the ragged linoleum floor of the kitchen.
She calmly called
Marlene and said, "The son of a bitch is dead."
The next morning, while the girls were in school, Marlene helped Carol to put the body in the trunk of the car and dig the hole in the desert.
After burying the body, they scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom. Fortunately Alton had all the items they needed: rope, blue tarp, cleaning chemicals he'd stolen from the mill on his way out... They had it all and wouldn’t have to raise any suspicion having to purchase it.
Three weeks had
passed before Carol called to report Alton "missing," having not
returned home from a 10-day camping trip in Big Sur.
The Sheriff told her he'd make a report and added, "You know he probably just ran off with another woman. You've got to know he was in bed with every woman that would open her legs to him. You're a good mother and a good woman. Honestly you're better off without the bastard."
After more than a year had passed with no signs of Alton being seen anywhere still alive, Carol was able to obtain a death certificate for her presumed-dead husband and collect on life insurance policies. To maintain her story, she joined a widow/ers grief group where she met an architect named Michael Brady.
The rest, as they
say, is ancient history.
… and that, as the song says, is The Way They Became the Brady Bunch!