September 2011

Forty-one years ago, when I was just 11 years old, I began a daily habit that shocked my pre-teen sensibilities and changed my life forever.

I had spentAMC Logo a lifetime — a whole 11 years — being disgusted with daytime soaps and the women who watched them. How could they waste their time on As the World Turns or Days of Our Lives when there was Bugs Bunny of Daffy Duck to watch on another channel?? Those times when I was left frustrated while my babysitter (not my mother…never my mother!) watched her serial had left a bad taste in my mouth. So imagine my horror when I realized I was hooked on a new soap opera called All My Children.

It had begun quite innocently. I’d tuned in by accident as the first episode began. Susan Lucci in the '70sI wSusan Lucci nowasn’t even supposed to be home, but I think I was sick or it was a holiday. In any case, I watched as I ate lunch that day and became enthralled when a girl I perceived as not much older than me began to talk about how she was going to be someone someday. She was going to be a star!

Little did we know…

I never missed an episode. During lunch hour, I either watched it at home or on a TV in a deli close to school. After we got a VCR in 1976, I began taping it every day. The ability to play back the juicy parts was wonderful, and I took full advantage of that opportunity. Even cutting out the commercials, a single viewing could last almost twice as long as the show itself.

When the Internet came along, I immediately recognized this medium as one where I could finally find like-minded people who were interested in really discussing the show. I was an AOL member when the service was new and in 1993 found a forum for AMC on their TV channel. Mine was the first post on that forum. I had no idea whether anyone would ever read what I wrote, but I wrote anyway. In a few weeks, there were a few more posts, and soon, we had our own thriving litPhoebe and Langleytle community in our corner of AOL where we discussed plot lines, ideas, characters, and made fun of some of the things they made the actors do. It was on this forum that I met two friends who are still dear to me today, Beth and Karen. Beth had an All My Children newsletter that eventually went to thousands every day. Karen was just feisty and very savvy when it came to AMC. I love them both to this day.

One day when I was rereading some of our posts about the show, I got the idea that ABC might be interested in knowing what was going on. This was a demographic that they were really unaware of at the time, and I was sure they’d be interested in being able to get immediate feedback, so I copied 12 pages of the best of our posts and sent them to the executive producer of AMC along with a letter telling them about us and about all they were missing. I didn’t get a reply, but imagine my surprise when they did a storyline that was almost exactly like the one I had suggested and written about in detail on the forum! (For you fans out there, it was the one about Trevor’s sister’s brake line getting cut.)

Little by little, people related to the show began to post on our little forum. A playwright who Michael E Knightsometimes wrote with Michael E. Knight became a regular, and it was through her that he and I got to know one another online. I was a Mac maven back then and had a popular newsletter called “The Newbie News and FAQs” to help out people new to AOL and the Internet. Michael was an actor with a new Mac and was clueless. I helped him learn how to use his machine, and he made me laugh. We shared several emails, and unless our mutual friend ever told him, he was never aware that I had been in love with him from afar for many years. I still have recordings from voicemails he left on my answering machine, and I still have his autographed picture hanging on the wall of my bedroom, and there it will stay.

ABC eventually killed our forum and started their own on AOL, and it became huge. A behemoth in fact, where millions of people tried to hold conversations about the show while old regulars Michael E Knight on my wallbegan discussing their children, diapers, in-laws, etc. with other older posters who’d by this time become friends. The actors, excited by the new medium, often popped into our chat room. It was wonderful to get to talk to Michael, Susan, and the others when they’d pop in. (Though I remember being a little annoyed when Kelly Ripa would join us. She was a teenager, and we were interested in talking with the adults. I find this hilarious now.) After a time, when things started to get really out of hand with the now huge forum, Beth, Karen, I and a few of our other AMC original posters quietly left the ABC forum and started our own again. You wouldn’t believe the catfight when we were found out, but that’s a story for another day.

I could go on and on with AMC stories and how the show impacted my life, but I’ve regaled Susan Lucci at signingyou enough for now. Suffice it to say, I have my Erica Cane “biographies.” I have my rarely used bottle of Enchantment perfume and my oft used bottle of Susan Lucci perfume. I havePerfumes my picture of MEK and my voicemail recordings of him leaving messages for me. (He had a cold at the time…and girls, he said JINKIES!) I have my memories.

In all these years, friends have come and gone, family members have passed, but All My Children has always stayed. Until today, at 1pm, I don’t think I really thought it would end. But it has, thanks to the shortsightedness of an ABC Daytime exec who doesn’t understand that you can’t use Neilson ratings anymore to judge a show’s viewership. Most of us TiVo or use another DVR now. Unfortunately, he’s too backward to know that and cancelled the show in favor of a food talk show that’s much cheaper to produce. His stupidity is our loss.

AMC is supposed to continue in 2012 on the Internet. I hope they can pull it off, but I don’t have my hopes up too high. I cried like a baby today as I watched the final episode. After 41 years, those people seem like family. I’ll miss them, and I’ll keep the light on hoping to see them again.

AMC Cast


You thought I was using hip ’60s slang for drugs; right? Wrong-o! I’m talking about my rarely fed blog. It’s been a downer, man…a real downer.

So, let’s get right to it. It’s been a difficult couple of years. Bad job. (Really bad job.) Beloved pets dying. My mom dying. For a while there, it seemed like nothing good would ever happen again. At first, I started posting about my sadness thinking it would be cathartic, thinking I’d get back to the regular stuff later, but then I’d come back later, and I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t post something frivolous after posting about the death of a loved one. It seemed disrespectful. It was depressing. It would have been a lie. So, I’ve stayed away.

But I’m giving you notice here and now. I’m done with that.

Well, almost.

I have one more tribute to post for now. Sadly, there may be some later at some far distant point in the future, but this tribute calls to me now. And I don’t consider it a downer, really. It just is what it is. A goodbye of sorts, a fare thee well, an I’m REALLY going to miss you kind of post. So here goes…man, I hate endings, especially when we’re talking about something that isn’t supposed to end. Boo!