Dearly departed, we are gathered here today to witness the end of a soap opera. Yes, after 72-year run, don’t hate, they started on the radio, one of my favorite soaps is gone; dead, like yesterday’s meat. Procter & Gamble Co., they owed the show, decided to hit the snooze button and pulled the plug and now no more. Capiche, kaboom, done and, I am feeling the pain.
Once upon a time we were brothers, sisters, cousins, hoomies, suitemates, roommates; we were attached to the hips, to the joints to the… whatever. We were in this insatiate, passionate, love/hate relationship that could have killed both us. I had no boundaries and at one point called the almighty God to have pity and save me from my own misery.
I needed rehab, no not that kind, pronto as I was obsessed and could not live without it. It taught me how to speak English, literally, no joke. My English professor suggested it and the newspaper as mechanism to better the idiom and it proved to be interesting. I got hooked on (CALGON, please take me away!) the revolving solar system of never ending stories of soapoperas, las hot calientes novellas. Too bad there were no popcorn.
And so it begun, my adventure, my love affair many moon lights ago.
I used to watch all of them on CBS; Guiding Light, it was on at 3:00PM at the time, alongside The Young and Restless at 12:30PM, Capitol at 1:30, which met an early demise and was later replaced by The Bold and The Beautiful, As The World Turns at 2:30PM followed by Guiding Light, every day, every night, rain or shine, whenever I could, religiously.
I used to schedule my life around it; watch it after school, after work, after whatever. When I could not watch it live, I would tape it (that was before we heard of TIVO and videos on demand) and watch later on the day, regardless of the time.
I used to muscle everyone and everything so to not miss one episode and be forced to catch up later. I used to be it and it used to be me and we understood each other like one more bottle of beer or a cigarette. Don’t hate!
I lived with Billy, JB, Josh, Shane, country oil boys who rattled Springfield – the fictitious city; the Bauer family and their annual Thanksgiving barbeque for as long as I can remember.
Reva was my girl dough. She was exciting, the life of the party, a no nonsense kind of girl. She was crazy like a fox and all of that in a bag of chips.
As many stories go on soaps, there were their shares of craziness. C’mon, it would not be a novella if it lacked that aspect. Reva married JB who was dad’s to Billy and Josh because Josh did not man up enough to her; then, after so many wranglings, she finally married Josh – the love of her life – to divorce him later to marry Billy, Josh’s older brother who sensed the weakness on his “little brother” and went in for the kill; and as if it was not enough, she divorces Billy after he begun drinking and went back to Josh who attempted to humiliate her but could not help but take her back…. Oof, I am tired just writing about it.
Riva had two kids, breast cancer, went to jail, was hit by a car and lived to see another day, went through menopause, died – yes she did, twice, went over a bridge in some Caribbean island to appear later, to marry JB once again until his death and then Josh. Reva, please stop, I am getting intoxicated! Oh and Mindy, who was Billy’s spoiled daughter.
Then there were the Bauer’s, a family of cool doctors, Ed, Maureen and Rick. They dealt with drug abuse, breast cancer, drinking issues, I mean so many crazy stuff that my head was spinning.
The Spaulding’s, the rich and crazy bunch led by madly in love Beth and Phillip, Alan – every town has its villain and he was it but somehow Beth found her way to her father in law.
Guiding Light was what it was; a distraction, a fairy-tale, make-believe, a delight and I enjoyed every minute of it. I knew its stories and its characters, and it surrounded me. We parted ways only when its schedule was changed to make room for The Doctors show and I lost interest, and it succumbed to the old man disease, ratings, with no possibility of reruns. I mean, soapopera at 10:00AM, please!
Let’s not forget the many actors who paraded its screen and are now stars: Hayden Panettiere, before she became an heroine and was this six years old cutie as an apple and Riva’s daughter, Angela Basset, Mia Long, Calista Flockhart, Kevin Bacon, Taye Diggs, Billy D. Williams and many others. They all went through the Guiding Light’s school.
Today, it sits as yesterday’s story; one more episode in a life of a character in the life of Springfield but it is not the character; it is Springfield. I will miss it and it will never be the same. So long.