Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Life as we know it

The best part about growing older is seeing things in your life come full circle.

When I was a girl the school bus would drop me off at 3:30 p.m. Most afternoons I would run up the driveway and hurry inside. I remember clearly the living room, Mom standing there the ironing board between herself and the television. In the 1970s, bus drivers wore a uniform (and hat) to work, so Dad needed a fresh shirt daily. To alleviate the boredom, Mom would watch television while ironing or folding clothes.

I ran up the driveway because I wanted to see what would happen next on General Hospital. I'd sit on the end of the couch and match socks or help fold shirts, the sides stretched down from where the clothes pins held them against the wind on the clothesline in the backyard. During the commercials Mom would update me on what I'd missed in the first half hour.

While attending high school I stopped watching regularly, catching up during the summer months. But after I started working full time, quit watching General Hospital altogether. I do remember the day I started again, though. We were living in Winnipeg and son Laurie was only a few months old. I had a load of diapers to fold . . .

For me, General Hospital's heyday was from the mid-80s to the late-90s. I would set the VCR every morning before leaving for work and watch it in the evening if the storyline was particularly good (February and November "Sweeps") or catch up on the weekends, fast-forwarding through the commercials. I remember visiting Mom during those years and we'd always stop whatever we were doing at 3:00 p.m. to watch "our show" together.

"Oh this is so stupid," she'd say. She didn't like the way Felicia's nose crinkled when she smiled. Mac "never knows what to do with his arms, they just hang there." Some of the story lines were so far fetched she threatened to turn it off. But she never did. We just kept watching. 

In the mid-90s when I was at my busiest, Mom came for a visit. I took a few days off but then had to go to the office to get caught up. When I returned home that night, Mom had supper started and was (you guessed it) ironing the stack of clothes she found in the hall closet. She was thoroughly enjoying herself but couldn't resist teasing me about that for years.

I almost gave up on General Hospital a few times this last decade. The writing was lacking, there was too much violence, newly-introduced characters I didn't care about, etc. The shows started piling up on the DVR and I even deleted a few weeks. The storyline started to improve last fall, however, and I believe that's because the powers that be started paying attention to the viewers who posted online their disappointment about the show's direction.

On April 1st, General Hospital celebrated 50 years on air. To commemorate this milestone, the producers began writing back in some of the all-time favourite characters. They started earlier this year, building momentum which will culminate this month. I was away working in Brandon all last week so had quite a bit of catching up to do. Yesterday, a special aired which saw many of the early characters plus those from the heyday years I mentioned earlier, reuniting in one episode, blending the old with the new, bringing the soap around full circle.

It wasn't until this morning I realized that yesterday was, by sheer coincidence, laundry day. I spent most of the afternoon folding and ironing, repeating the pattern my Mom set years ago.

Ironing clothes has always been my favourite chore. And having just experienced one of those full circle moments, I now understand why.

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