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The Many Faces of Love: Anissa Jones

May 4 2008 at 3:47 PM
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Photoplay, February 1968 (Anissa Jones)

The Many Faces of Love: Anissa Jones
Love is a big boy you can depend on
By Polly Terry

Anissa Jones said solemnly, "We saw Sabby get born." She looked toward her brother, Paul, for confirmation. "Yeah, yeah, we did," Paul wagged his head in agreement. Of course, Anissa wasn't talking about her fellow member of the A Family Affair (sic) cast, Sebastian Cabot, whose friends do call him "Sabby." Rather, she referred to Cabot's namesake, a month-old, golden striped kitten which was nestling in Paul's arms. "That's Paul's kitten," Anissa said, "and this one's mine. It's named Sabrina." Sabrina is snow white and was named, Anissa explained, for a character in a motion picture. Or at least she thinks maybe the character was in a motion picture. She isn't quite sure. "When Mr. Cabot was sick," Anissa enlarged, "this other man (John Williams) was in our show and he'd had this daughter (in a movie or play?) who was named Sabrina and was just like Cinderella, because she had to work all the time. So that's what we named the kitten." Is Sabrina a girl-cat and Sabby a boy-cat, a visitor ventured to inquire? "No, you've got it backwards," Paul said with certainty. "I think both of them are boys," Anissa speculated, not too certain.

In any case, at that moment the kittens' mother, a cat named Tiger, claimed her children. Tiger, Anissa mentioned, was a gift from Brian Keith.

Anissa, the adorable Buffy of A Family Affair, lives with her mother and her brother in a compact apartment close by the Pacific Ocean. The ocean, in fact, is visible from the Jones' patio, but a block of homes and a broad beach separate the apartment from the surf. Curiosity, tolerance and affection are family traits which make Anissa, Paul and their mother, Paula Jones, a particularly attractive and close-knit group. Although the children's mother and father are divorced, Anissa and Paul have been reared in an atmosphere which encourages learning. Both parents hold graduate degrees and have been teachers.

Thus they were allowed to see one of their kittens born. Thus their home is filled with books. And thus both youngsters already look forward to college. "I think I'll go about four years," Anissa prophesied. "Then I don't know what I'll do after that."

"I might go sixteen years," Paul said, "but I believe six years might be enough. Then I'm going to be a movie star."

Paula, their mother, chuckled in amazement. "I didn't know you wanted to be a movie star, Paul," she said. "Which one would you like to be like?"

"Elvis Presley," Paul answered his mother promptly.

"I don't think he really wants to be an actor," Paula said, "but I know why he wants to be a movie star. He likes money. Paul's the spender in the family. Anissa is the one who saves. She spends practically nothing at all to speak of."

The Jones girl

Although Anissa is nine and Paul is only seven, he is already a head taller than she, and in many ways she depends upon him as though he were her big brother in years as well as height. "He depends on Anissa," Paula said, "to give him confidence, because she's the confident one. But she depends upon him to help her with things. 'Paul, can you reach this? Paul, can you help me?'

"I suppose there may be a little jealousy on Paul's part, because Anissa is on television and he's not. But on the other hand, she's a little jealous of him, because he gets to play while she's working at the studio.

"One day, when we'd come from the studio, Anissa wanted some strawberries we'd left here that morning, but Paul had eaten them. When Anissa found out, she complained, 'Here I've been all day, working under those hot lights, while Paul's been home eating strawberries.'"

Anissa became a television actress by way of appearance in television commercials and, actually, is much less impressed by her current stardom than she is by the fact that her name is Jones. She likes to brag to friends that she's kin to Davy Jones of The Monkees, and deep in her secret heart she prays the boast is true. After all, she reasons, everybody named Jones must be at least distant cousins. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Ask Anissa and her brother what they do that's bad, and they'll promptly say, "Fight." However, their mother says they don't fight often, and the truth of this is perfectly evident when you see them play together.

Anissa is learning to ride a bicycle, so Paul helps by steadying the bike. Paul, despite his plans to go to college for six years, is lazy about doing his lessons, so Anissa helps him with his homework. She also tells him stories and reads to him, although he reads quite well himself.

If you ask the children what their mother does when they are bad, Anissa says, "She shouts."

"She spanks us," Paul contradicts.

Mrs. Jones has to agree with Paul.

"I'm not very good at discipline, I suppose," she smiles. "I think children get along better with fewer rules. But when I do have to punish them, I spank them.

"For a while, I worried about living so near the ocean. I worried especially about Paul, because he's a boy and more daring. I even talked with a psychologist about it, asking him whether I should tell Paul he couldn't go to the beach without an adult. But he said, 'No.' After all, there are lifeguards all along the beach and Paul is already a good ocean swimmer. And all the other boys go down there all the time. So I let him go, too.

"Anissa goes to the beach without me, but she doesn't like the ocean very much. She just wades out to her waist. She can swim, but she'd rather swim in a pool.

"I let the children come and go in the neighborhood without me, but I insist they leave notes for me saying exactly where they've gone and when they'll be back. And they'd better be where their notes say they are.

"For example, if Anissa leaves a note saying she's going to the playground a block or two away and that she'll be there until two o'clock, and then if I go by and she's not there, she's in trouble.

"How do I punish her? Well, the greatest punishment for Anissa is not to allow her to play with her friends. She loves her friends and has so many of them.

"The worst punishment for Paul is not to allow him to sleep with the cat." Anissa and her friends were, as of that moment, in some trouble with Paula, because of a club meeting they'd held.

Mrs. Jones owns the duplex in which the family lives, and the upstairs apartment was vacant, so Anissa and her friends had asked permission to hold a club meeting in it. Anissa's mother had agreed, with the stipulation that they keep the place tidy. The little girls may have considered it tidy when they left, but Paula hadn't agreed.

"Anissa," she said firmly, "you and your friends are going to have to go up and clean that place up!"

Anissa and Paul both claim to be accomplished housekeepers and boast that they keep their rooms clean and help their mother in the kitchen.

"We don't have to wash the dishes," Anissa volunteered, "because we have a machine. But we load it and unload it."

"Only," Paul added, "Anissa washed dishes with the machine and forgot to use any water."

Anissa giggled at the memory. "The dishes," she said, "came out funny."

"Paul," she added, "knows how to cook eggs and would be more than happy to demonstrate." No sooner said than done. Anissa and her brother scooted to the kitchen, where, for a few minutes, pans rattled and children whispered.

"See," she said, "I told you Paul could cook eggs. He cooked this one."

"Are you going to eat it now?" a visitor asked.

"Eat it!" Anissa was shocked. "You don't eat Paul's eggs, you just look at them."

And dependable big boy Paul did not contradict his sister.

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