No one forgets their first love . . .

. . . and mine was Peter Brady.

Listening to Matthew Dicks’ Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend on audio, I’m reminded of all the places I took my own imaginary friend as a kid. In Dicks’ novel, main character Max has a buddy named Budo, his protector and watcher of all things, and I felt like that about my own friend . . . although he was rather familiar-looking to many of us: Peter.

I was probably around 5 when the Brady family came skipping into my life. Spending summers at my grandparents’ house, my sister and I watched nightly re-runs of “The Partridge Family” and “The Brady Bunch” (this was the early ’90s, after all). Having decided I wanted a brother, Peter became his immediate stand-in. As the boys at school and I got older and paid me no mind, Peter was the one who made me feel accepted. He was a little mischievous, much like his character, but he never led me into any trouble.

In Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend, Budo’s protective nature and understanding of Max is written incredibly well — and Budo definitely reminds me of Peter. He’s sweet, kind and supportive, and I can’t help but want to hug Budo for the way he makes Max feel loved. Listeniing to Dicks’ novel, I have to keep reminding myself that Budo isn’t real. He’s a figment of Max’s imagination: the representation of something he deeply craves. But given how human he seems, I can’t process that Budo doesn’t exist.

Or does he?

I’m only on disc three, so we’ll see.

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Did you have imaginary friends growing up? How old were you when you “outgrew” them? Do you remember much about them?

 

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Why do you hurt me so, Peter?

Growing up, my sister and I had incredibly active imaginations — to the point that we could literally amuse ourselves for hours with a few Barbies, possibly some crayons and coloring books, and a board game or two. But mostly we developed large, elaborate “imaginary games” — we were princesses; we were drifters stuck in the middle of a hot, scary volcanic eruption. The space around my grandmother’s porch was a lava pit, and Kate and I had to leap across it in order to reach safety and save our young lives. Good children of the ’80s that we were, we shared the requisite G.I. Joes with Matthew, a neighborhood friend, when staying with our grandparents in the summer. We always had a lively game of something lined up — be it Uno cards, Monopoly, coloring time, craft time, etc.

And going along on all of these escapades with us? My imaginary friend, of course.

peter_brady Peter. As in, Brady.

Yes, I was in love with Peter Brady. And not a little — a lot in love with Peter, my first celebrity crush! I was probably five or six, I guess, when Peter and I first met. Grandma would put on re-runs of “The Brady Bunch” in the afternoons, and I don’t think it took much time at all for me to memorize most of the episodes. Though I don’t remember him being particularly mischievous, my dear friend “Peter” went with me everywhere!

Although I had my dear sister and plenty of friends at school and in the neighborhood with whom to play, Peter was still my buddy of choice. Sometimes I wonder what ever became of the cute, floppy-haired boy constantly in Greg’s shadow, and then I remember . . .

He “grew up” to be Christopher Knight,  serious and unabashed reality TV “star.” And he’s married to Adrianne Curry! Seriously — Adrianne Curry?! Did anyone ever watch “My Fair Brady” a few years back on VH1? Why do you have to break my heart so, Peter?

christopher_knight_curry