One less story

When I was a little girl, my grandparents took care of me most days while my parents worked. And, as indulgent as they definitely were, (who am I kidding, they spoiled me rotten) there was one point on which they did not budge:

Children’s TV programming did not have priority over Grandma & Grandpa’s “stories” in the afternoon.

As a result, I was about seven or eight when I finally figured out that if you couldn’t beat ’em, you might as well join ’em.  And thus, the great love affair between me and The Guiding Light was born.

Oh sure, there was a raging inferno that summer on As The World Turns, but it couldn’t really hold a candle to the Morgan/Tim/Kelly triangle. And when Morgan and Kelly got married at Laurel Falls to the sounds of “You Needed Me” by Anne Murray, well, what girl with a heart wouldn’t have shed a tear or two? And that was in spite of Nutty Nola trying to screw the whole thing up. And never mind the controversy behind what really happened to Jackie and Justin’s baby.

It’s possible several storylines have melded into a single summer season in my mind – let’s not forget, I wasn’t 10 years old yet.

Time went on, and school started, and another summer arrived, and on and on…and no matter what, on the last day of June I could turn on the TV at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and there they’d be – the residents of Springfield USA, doing their deals, swapping spouses, discovering long-lost children. It would take a day or so to get the gist of what had happened during the school year, and then I’d be all caught up and ready to re-engage again.

What? If it hadn’t been for Guiding Light, I might never have looked up from a book. Plus, during my various sojourns in Nowhere, Northern Ontario, we got two TV channels. I watched Guiding Light on one, and All My Children on the other.

Fast forward to the late eighties/early nineties. Here were Philip and Beth and Rick and Mindy, off to the high school prom while I spent the summer gestating and getting ready for grown-up ‘hood. And Reva and Josh. Oh Reva. Oh Josh.

And then it was the mid-nineties, and I was home again, and Reva and Josh were STILL trying to get it together. And Baby Alan-Michael had SORAS-ed (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome) from 6 months to 18 years old in eight years.  And Philip (Grant Aleksander) was over on All My Children?

I haven’t watched Guiding Light hardly at all in the last year or two. Even when I do happen to turn on the TV at the right time, there was just no connection happening; between the new filming technique and the destruction of once-loved characters (seriously, Reva and Josh – you’re each other’s lobsters, fercryinoutloud, would you work it out already?) Last week I popped it on, and lo and behold, there were Philip and Beth and Mindy and Rick at their 25th high school reunion.

And now, it’s over, or almost – in September, Guiding Light, daytime’s longest running serial will go off the air.   The soap that was a credit to  countless acting careers – Kevin Bacon, Hayden Panitierre, Cindy Pickett, JoBeth Williams, Ian Ziering, Sherry Stringfield, Melina Kankaredes, etc. – is done. The lighthouse will be dark, and no one will ever know whether Reva and Josh finally get their act together and keep it there.

But I bet they do.

Goodbye, GL.  I can’t say, exactly, that I’m going to miss you – I don’t really know you anymore. But I will miss knowing that you’re there.

One last thing – where, exactly, is Springfield, anyway?


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