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Pancakes at Polonia and Sandwiches with Scout…

Tradition: “The handing down of stories, beliefs and customs from generation to generation”.

Pizza Jeffrey Tastes

Pizza by Jeffrey Tastes

My Detroit nieces visit their native NY every year. I call and ask what they’d like to do while they’re here. Their response – “Pizza at Delizia”…”go to China Fun” …walk to the “little park” (as little girls they played in the big sprinkler at John Jay Park on hot summer days). They also loved visiting the Guiding Light studio, mostly because of the vending machine on the 4th floor! We do something new every year – a play, a museum, a walk on the High Line. But a Delizia slice, China Fun veggie dumplings and the little park are mandatory.

Those are our NY traditions. My sister and I always meet at the Grand Central clock and start walking. Our NY tradition…

During my early New York years my phone rang every Sunday at 10 am. My dad, “casually” checking in, and hopefully bringing me a funny story from home – the best ones involved his younger sister, my Aunt Fran and Cousins Bill, Rob and Jane! When he died, my phone rang at 10am on the Sunday after I got home from his funeral. It was Aunt Fran, well aware of our Sunday morning tradition.

Detroit is a town that has been through so much turmoil, we treasure the sharing of laughter and stories and tradition – which usually involve food! One of my favorites I shared with my friend Margie. We worked at Kresge’s in downtown Detroit during high school. Friday was payday and once we’d pocketed our fat paychecks we’d hurry over to Coney Island for lunch.

Right after GL was cancelled. Margie and I (with sisters Susie and Janice) paid a late night visit to the Coney Island. I’m so glad we did because Margie died suddenly six weeks later. She was a Guiding Light viewer, by the way. She got her patients at the VA hospital in Detroit hooked on GL. After she died, Susie found a bag of Soap Digests in her room, with GL articles flagged. Margie was stunned when we were cancelled. “What will I do when I’m working Thanksgiving or Christmas? My patients like to watch the holiday shows.”

Pancakes by RobertBanh

Pancakes by Robert Banh

At Guiding Light, we shared traditions with our audience…the Bauer BBQ, the funny Thanksgiving, the Christmas crawl… We also had traditions that involved pajamas, Munchkins, Ivory soap, red wine… After GL, my new traditions include pancakes at Polonia with David and sandwiches with my beloved dog Scout (and Tony, my husband). Scout’s tail would thump extra hard when I walked in with that Ottomanelli’s sandwich on Fridays. She loved traditions!

So many have spoken out since the latest soap cancellations were made public last week/ Spoken angrily, emotionally and eloquently… I hope the cancelled shows find a new home. I hope we support the four shows that remain. As for bringing us more “information”– soaps serve information with comfort, continuity and a little escape on the side. We remember the letters – the pregnant teens who wished for a brother like Frank, the woman with Down Syndrome who assured us that Fletcher and Holly’s baby would be okay, women who saved their own lives after Bert Bauer and Lillian Raines saved theirs with early detection for cancer, mothers who learned to speak English watching soaps. About that young demo networks are seeking. The world is scary these days. You think kids are only interested in hunks and train wreck TV? The kids who came to GL wanted to meet the dads, the uncles and the big brothers – the guys they could count on. We all, young and old, want something we can count on every day.

“When we are good, we change people’s lives.” – Jerry ver Dorn. What a responsibility and what a joy. Soap opera might be transitioning but it has to survive somehow. It’s part of our American storytelling tradition.

11 Responses to “Pancakes at Polonia and Sandwiches with Scout…”

  • Alexis (@acarl1985):

    What a wonderful blog, Jill

  • Karen:

    Thank you Jill, for shareing your traditions with us. My tradition was on a hard day, which believe me there where a lot of, was to turn on Guiding Light. I love the interactions from all the character’s. There where one’s I loved to hate, one’s I was so invested in I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

    My tradition now is to watch old clips of GL on YT. The networks may have taken away new storyline’s but they can’t take away what has been created for the many fruitful years that it aired on our screen’s.

    I hope the network’s grab a clue and ask the people that matter about what they want to see & keep alive the tradition of escapism from our everyday lives.

  • Well done, Jill! Love it. The traditions we share with our family and friends – and our pets.

    Look forward to more 🙂

  • Patrick Erwin:

    Oh, Jill – this is beautiful. So many people think a show is just 36 minutes of entertainment. There are so many more layers and you have captured them so eloquently.

  • Tricia(@sparcharge):

    Eloquent as always Jill Thank you.Soaps are lucky to have you as an advocate.BTW I remember Kresge’s in Detroit and Toledo(where I live)!

  • Kelly:

    Thank you for bloging really enjoying it, I miss GL everyday.

  • Rodney:

    Once again, you never cease to amaze me. You could write a book of your life and times at GL. I know the many fans that are still lost without the show would really appreciate that. Keep the Light Shining,
    and God Bless You.

  • Kate:


    Traditions are a lost art. You can’t chop them up and repurpose them across multi-platform markets very easily.

    The television industry, like most, has become penny wise and pound foolish.

  • jill lorie hurst:

    I think all of us who watch soaps understand the need for some tradition! Thanks for commenting – you all made me a little weepy. Jill

  • tony:

    I will miss these!

  • Came back to try to read this again without crying so I could leave a comment. I love the way you always write from your heart… and take aim at mine… and hit it every time! You’re right, you know. We all want something we could count on. I wish you’d start a blog of your own so we could count on hearing from you on a regular basis. Thank you for pouring so much of your heart into everything you do! Love you!

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