Back in the olden days, t.v. shows were on at a certain scheduled time of day. Tivo was just someone in your neighbourhood from Finland. On Demand didn’t exist unless you were a spoiled, only child. Online was where you hung your laundry to make it smell like outside. If you wanted to watch something, you needed to be in front of a television at the time it was on or you missed it.
Growing up we had two spinsterly sisters living next door. Doris & Margie. Each in a different residence on the same property but less than ten steps between the two. Once a week they would travel to town to do their shopping, carefully planning what staples to get from each store. Baked goods always from the Super-Valu, meat from the Overwaitea (yes, someone actually named a grocery store pronounced over-weight-ee) and produce from the Safeway. This was a grand and complex undertaking but done with the precision of two very organized english ladies. They weren’t, but fooled us with their overt love for the Queen.
Their execution of these weekly trips to town were impressively reverse engineered from when The Stories came on. If for some reason they were delayed in heading home from town they would come flying up the dirt road, leave the groceries in the car and bolt for the living room to watch what scandalous events were unfolding in a fake town that existed nowhere. It was that important. It was also important for us to not play in the road if we didn’t see their car parked next door.
My paternal Grandmother had similar priorities although she didn’t drive. She did however lock the door and would not answer anything once the theme music for The Young and the Restless started. If able to get in the house before that, you were treated to an hour of opinions and speculation as to why Victor kept remarrying Nicki (this was the first time I ever heard my Granny use the word penis) and why you should never trust a redhead. Advice that has come in handy now that I live next to one.
I don’t watch all The Stories but I was raised surrounded by wonderful women who did. Knowing all the soap names feels a little like having a village of imaginary friends. Watching an episode is like getting a contradictory postcard that reads “So much is going on here and nothing’s really changed.” When one of the actors leaves us without the possibility of coming back as an evil twin or a face transplant recipient, it saddens me. I find myself feeling a little mournful at the loss of Jeanne Cooper/Katherine Chancellor today after almost 40 years of knowing her names.
I’ve only just gotten over losing Mac Cory and now this.