OK, I haven’t watched soaps regularly in about 10 years. They come on during the day, and I haven’t been a stay-at-home-mom since 1996, when I went back to school to finish my education degree. I know it takes only weeks to get sucked back into the world of any soap, but initially, you just don’t know what the hell is going on and things are tough to follow.
My grandmother has watched All My Children, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light. When I spent summers in her care while my mom was at work or when we had a day off from school, we watched her “stories” with her. Later on, when I was a SAHM, I picked up the same three soaps because there was nothing else on during the day, and at least I knew who some of the characters on these three soaps were.
I was reading the AJC the other day, and there was an obituary for Benjamin Hendrickson, who played Hal Munson on As the World Turns, one of the soaps I watched. He committed suicide — friends attributed it to long-standing depression after the death of his mother in 2003.
It’s weird. When you watch soaps for an extended period of time, you become so invested in those characters. I remember when I was a SAHM, I had a friend who was also a SAHM, and we watched the same soaps. We used to call each other and watch together over the phone. It was really fun. Hal Munson was one of my favorite characters on the show, and I couldn’t tell you why, really. I also liked the character who was his on again/off again wife, Barbara Ryan. I always thought she was so sophisticated and pretty. I wonder how ATWT is going to handle the actor’s death, because from what I was able to gather, the soap was in the midst of a storyline involving the death of his character’s daughter.
At any rate, considering I haven’t followed his adventures for 10 years, I was moved when I heard about his death. Rest in peace.