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The Real Life Brady Bunch

Melanese Way (The Serious/Controlling One)

Kennedy McKinney, Contributing Writer

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Rosa is the eldest of the eight siblings, and with that she is like a second mother to them. “I had to watch over them and care for them as if they were my babies,” she said when asked what is was like in the house. The first thing that comes to mind when she thinks of her childhood is that there was always a lot of love. All of her siblings said that she was an introvert — a hermit even. Her younger sister, Brenda, said, “She was always so shy and never required a large group of friends to be around.” Rosa’s experience with a big family made her know that she wanted a smaller family, but she was positive that she would replicate the love and care no matter the size.

Marvin is the oldest brother. When looking back on his childhood he remembers how he was always hungry (“If I’m 100% honest” he said while laughing) and that it was always playtime in their house. “My fondest and funniest memory was when I was watching wrestling with my brother Larry (the youngest of the the 8). I was sitting on the floor with my hands under my chin when Larry jumped on my head; my teeth then got stuck in the wood floor, and I struggled to pry them out and catch him at the same time.” When I asked the siblings what made Marvin so dependable they all said around the same thing: “When you call and need something, he is always there.” In three words, Marvin says he is an extreme procrastinator (“My wife could write a book on how many times I’ve waited until the very last minute”), an exaggerator, and very fun.

Riley is the second brother and with that came a lot of responsibility, and of course a lot of ups and down. “It was a challenging blessing. We had our fun moments, and we had your typical sibling drama.” His favorite memory (“Oh that’s a tough one, I’ll have to knock off some cobwebs.”) was hanging out with his cousins and playing ball with his brothers. “My childhood was a pinnacle piece of my life, I’m better now than I was then.”

Melanese (“Everyone calls me Mel”) is the fourth child in this bunch. She said, “Our mother didn’t allow us to have sleepovers because she always said that there were enough of us to entertain each other.” She remembers learning how to cook yummy desserts for her brothers and sisters, and helping her mother around the house. “We had the best time growing up”. Melanese was always in the middle of stuff with her siblings. She said, “I was sort of a tattle tale, but I never got in trouble.” All of her brothers and sisters said that she was and still is the serious and controlling one. When I asked Marvin about it he said, “Mel isn’t just serious about little things, but everything!” She says that the house was always so full of energy and life. “We were just a tight-knit group.”

Brenda is the baby sister, and since birth has always tried to make her family laugh (all of her siblings said she was one of the funniest sisters). Her favorite memory was during the battle at the swamp, “I remember during the Florida-Georgia games people would park their car at our house and walk to the game. With that money, we used to always go to the store and get candy afterwards.” Whenever you ask her how she is, she always says, ‘I’m kickin’ but not too high!” meaning she’s great but still mellow. In three words, Brenda describes herself as smart, loving, and concerned, especially when it comes to family.

Anthony (“My nickname is AD”) was voted as the funniest one by all eight siblings. He loved growing up with his family but admitted to it not always being the best. “It wasn’t easy, and the family struggled financially here and there, but looking back, it shaped me to be who I am today.” His favorite memory was going out to California with the whole group to visit friends. “We had so much fun out in California…. So much fun that most of us worked out there after our school days.”

Michael is the seventh sibling. He said that growing up in the house
was always a lot of fun, and he was able to map his way through. “One of my favorite times in the house was when I got my red wagon. I was so happy to get it, and had some fun times with it and my brothers.” Family taught him about love, and being friendly to everyone. “It takes a lot for me to not like someone.”

Larry is the youngest of the eight, and said having so many siblings was nice, but at times he felt outspoken and overlooked. “We were a family then, and we are a family now, and most of all we’ve always had each other’s back.” Being the youngest he had a nickname–“poont pie”. “My uncle originally called me pooh pie because I was on the heavier side, but my siblings tweaked it and began calling me poont.” None of the siblings can recall why they began calling him that, but to this day the nickname still lingers. Larry is described as being the good listener, chill, and a jokester.

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