I grew up, from the time I was five years old, watching Days of Our Lives with MeMe and PaPa. It used to come on at 12:30 and we’d watch it with our bologna and cheese sandwichs and chips ahoy cookies and lemonade after I would come home from swimming lessons.
When I was in my Tweens, I spent summers with family. My other Meme and Papa in Granite where I roamed the streets with a cherry limeade from the pharmacy across from Pryor’s Department Store. With Auntie Dedo in OKC, who would take me to the bookstore in the mall on the first day and I would spend all of my money and then read the rest of the time (she really had the smarts that one) and with Auntie Carla and Uncle Bryan down in Freeport, Texas.
Auntie Carla and Uncle Bryan would drive me around in their blue Volkswagon Bug singing to Buddy Holly. We’d go get homemade rootbeer from the dude on the corner, we would go to the beach and fish for crab, we’d have ginormous salads with blue cheese dressing for lunch. While we made lunch, we would watch All My Children. Liza and Tad. Jenny and Greg. Angie and Jessie. and Erica. Ohhhh Erica.
Clearly I was born with a flair for the dramatic. Soaps were just this beautiful outlet for all of the crazy, overthedge, romantic and adventurous I had only thought about. Coming home, and apparently this was a good summer because it was the summer I got fat, or so my mother has said numerous times, I guess I mentioned something about “so and so is sleeping with so and so’s husband and he’s going to leave her for so and so…”
Well. My mother freaked and put an immediate moratorium on all things Soap Opera. (I also didn’t get to see a concert that wasn’t based in Jesus until I was a sophomore in high school…seriously. It’s no wonder my 20’s were what they were!—not really but it’s nice to have something to blame them on)
SO I don’t remember really when I got to start watching them again…but when I did it came back with a vengance. I don’t think there was a day in the 80’s that I didn’t watch one, read about one or talk about one. All of them. Days of our Lives. All My Children. Another World. As The World Turns. General Hospital on the Rick Springfield days. What I didn’t watch, I read about in Soap Opera Digest.
The hair. The clothes. The jewelry. The location shoots. The mystery and adventure. The summer romances. The Super Couples. The theme songs. Don’t think I didn’t have a Peabo Bryson/Roberta Flack cassette in my bedroom player. I loved the soaps. I wanted to be on one. I wanted to be a psychiatrist like Marlena Evans Brady Black. I mean, why not? Hot Mess Stacy told me in the 4th grade that I was really easy to tell problems to, so it made perfect sense.
Some years later, junior high and high school, my mom and sister and I would race home and get to the vcr with it’s remote control that had a cord. We would have chips and Pace picante sauce and Little Debbie peanut butter snack bars. And we would watch. All three of us. Sitting in the floor (because that’s as far as the corded remote control would reach) and for an hour we would have just girl time. We would lose ourselves with Pete and Melissa and Jack and Jennifer and Anna and Tony and Roman and Marlena. We would root root root for Bo and Hope and we would have a moment of bliss. . . Bliss before dad would come home and the bullshit would rain down. We would laugh and we would cry and on Friday’s we would scream NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Those Friday episodes were a bitch.
This time of year is my power time. It’s my favorite. I am lost in emotion and nostalgia and even more aware of how fast it all goes by. Last night, I got sucked into some Youtube clips of vintage Days moments. I watched for an hour before I started posting on my FB wall. Turns out, I’m not the only one that likes a trip down memory lane. The comments were flowing, I was laughing. Trish and I decided we need a sleep over with Days of our Lives, Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies and scotch.
With most of the genre dying off, there are only a handfull of soaps still on the air right now, I feel an even stronger urgency to hold on, to remember. It’s a nice little connector… the conduit of memories of a time that maybe wasn’t full of all great stuff…but for an hour a day it was bliss.
Here’s to bliss. If you get an hour a day…well that day in your life is a pretty good one.