My childhood friends are going away

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Two of my earliest childhood friends were Vanessa Sterling and Joanne Tate.
I saw them just about five days a week. Most of the time my  mother was present. She and I didn’t say much–Van and Jo dominated all the conversation.
My mother would sip her coffee and make brief asides. I usually didn’t say anything.
But then around the time I was eight, we decided to abandon Van and Jo. We were ready for new faces, new friends.
Viki was the first replacement friend and we were loyal to her. We gradually added Ruth and Mona, but Mona’s daughter, Erica, tended to get on our nerves and yet we remained loyal and faithful.
Those friendships, interspersed with Jessie, Brooke and Monica, grew and lasted.
They grew so fast, that my daddy would sometimes shake his head as he would pass through the room wondering why we loved these people so much.
It was easy.
They were loveable.
When you didn’t want to kill them.
In the last 40 years, my mother died as did some of our friends, but all friends were replaced with new faces and new adventures.
Earlier this year, I was distraught–and then saddened to learn–that some of those friends were going away and were not returning–even the despicable, lying, self-serving Erica.
All My Children and One Life to Live have been cancelled.
Yes, I am a soap opera fan and I became one because I was a product of my environment.
My mother, a full-time homemaker, would get all her chores done in time to settle in with “her shows.”
And when Van and Jo had coffee and cigarettes at the kitchen table, so did my mother.
I remember lying on the couch watching Search for Tomorrow (brought to you by Oxydol) and wondering if Jo and Stu, her next door neighbor would find happiness together. He always seemed so anguished and God knows, Jo was. She had a horrific mother-in-law who didn’t approve of anything she did.
But then my mom and I transitioned to ABC and became semi-permanent residents of Pine Valley and Llanview, where the goings on of Viki Lord and Erica Kane kept us turned in day in and day out–five days a week, every week.
I was in college when Luke and Laura got married on General Hospital, and I remember everyone gathering in the dorm lobby to watch the nuptials.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, I was too busy rearing three children and working three jobs, to watch on a regular basis, so I bought magazines with the story recaps just so I could keep up with the comings and goings.
Later, with the advent of the VCR and the DVR, I was able to capture those shows for viewing at my convenience and once again, I was swept up in the melodrama of other people’s lives.
It was a wonderful respite from my own personal dramas.
Goodness, I never had a relative come back from the dead. Nor did I discover a sibling later in my life who looked just like me or suddenly remember I’d had twins and had sold one while raising the other. Those were real dramas. Mine seemed so insignificant in comparison.
And now two of my shows have been cancelled and will be replaced with a cooking show and a reality show.
I am deeply saddened.
The last four months have been fun, however, as the writers are scrambling to tie a lot of the loose ends together.
So many people have come back from the dead and there have been montages of past shows that make me smile and remember–just like you do when  real friends exit your life.
One thing is for sure: I’ll get more sleep come January.
Instead of watching all those pre-recorded shows after I finish the paper at 2 a.m. (and I do every night), I can turn off the light and dream–maybe even star in my own slumberland soap.