The day before Thanksgiving I came down with a really bad head cold. I had looked forward to my daughter’s turkey dinner for weeks; instead I spent the day with my head hardly leaving my pillow. When I could finally lift my head, I turned on the TV and turned on one of my favorite shows: Bones. I’ve got so many episodes recorded I could watch for days on end and never see the same episode twice.
It’s funny how after watching a particular show for a long time that the characters seem to be a part of your life. Watching them is like visiting with a long-time friend and escaping with them into their lives.
When my kids were still babies, I looked forward to their nap times. That’s when I would follow the escapades of Luke and Laura on General Hospital. My mother never watched soap operas. She never slowed down long enough to sit through any television. But remember, she only had one child — me. She did go over to our elderly neighbor’s house to visit and “Grandma Pauline” watched her “story” every day. I don’t know if it was As the World Turns, or Days of Our Lives, or Search for Tomorrow. Whatever it was, my mama came home laughing at the escapades of its characters.
“That one lady had her head in the oven for days,” said Mama after one of her visits. “It was hysterical.”
Making Time for Television
When the kids were a little older, I didn’t have time for my daily soap opera. We had moved to the ranch and there were always things to keep us all busy. My brother-in-law also lived on the property. He had started watching As the World Turns with his granny when he was a little boy. My youngest son loved to visit with his uncle but often he’d come in and say, “Uncle Billy is watching that ‘As the World Spins.’ Mama, those people are crazy.”
What we did make time for while my kids were still home was Andy Griffith. I homeschooled the kids so during our lunch break we’d all sit down and watch what was going on in Mayberry, U.S.A. All of us loved Opie and even Aunt Bea. Of course Barney always kept us entertained while driving Andy crazy.
Many women my mama’s age were stay-at-home moms. They were kind of limited from social exchanges during the week. I believe for many that soap operas were their own way of visiting friends and perhaps having a little romance in their lives in the middle of the day. It was a way to be entertained while they folded clothes or did the ironing. Aren’t you glad ironing is almost a thing of the past?
Things have changed a lot since those days and now we can record our favorite shows and watch them whenever we like. I am really glad for my stockpile of Bones. Through my delirium, I could still be entertained even with my diminished capacity to think. I think they call this “binge watching.”
Does your older loved one still enjoy their “stories” every day? How about you? I know my cousin in Los Angeles always recorded her All My Children. I wonder if it’s still on the air?