Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Pop Culture Loss that Stings

I was startled by the appearance of a pretty English boy dawdling at a green market stand in NYC recently.

He was so pretty that he looked like an alien. His eyes radiated blueness and his blond hair gleamed. His teeth were so white that they made the sound of a struck metal triangle when he smiled.

As it turned out, he had recently been hired to act on Guiding Light, the oldest running television show in existence, which had just been canceled. The hearty gal at the farm stand had little sympathy for his despair over the lost gig, but I did, because I am sad to see the show go.

I remember watching it with my mother and grandmother in my grandparents' place when they
still got away with calling me 'wee Kate'.

I'd sit on a little embroidered stool drinking tea out of a porcelain cup and eating smiley faced cookies (the best, which also don't exist anymore) while we watched Phillip and Beth's impossible love unravel as evil, evil Roger schemed.

I remember flipping on the T.V. in college to learn that Beth was coming back from the dead yet again. The storylines recycled themselves infinitely.

My family was made up of British ex-pats, and as Guiding Light came on at tea time that was the soap we watched.

My great grandmother had listened to it on the radio whenever she was in the States. My grandmother had picked up the habit, as had my mother.

I guess I dropped the ball. I got complacent. I didn't watch. I thought that it would always be; like the sun. But the show's symbol was a lighthouse, and lighthouses are always being torn down.

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