Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This Is Why It's Not Just a Soap Opera

On Monday of this week I joined a few thousand friends all around the world to comfort each other and share stories of a wonderful woman who made a difference in the lives of everyone she met. Our friend Cathie Wagner died November 18, 2009 due to complications of the H1N1 virus.

Cathie was a teacher for almost 30 years in Columbiana, Ohio. The day of her funeral, the school district closed down in her honor so that everyone could attend the service. She was a remarkable woman.

I never met Cathie face to face. We met on the internet and interacted via message boards, Twitter and email. Her warm and welcoming manner made an immediate and lasting impression as did her sense of humor and her generous spirit. Cathie served as president of the Crystal Chappell Fan Club for many years and I was one of its more recent members. During the past year this fan club has grown by leaps and bounds, bringing new members from all around the globe as the Otalia story on Guiding Light, featuring Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia became more and more popular. The club has continued to grow with the announcement that Chappell would be producing Venice, a new webseries, with her partners, Kim Turrissi and Hope Royaltey. Cathie took it all in stride, taking a personal interest in each member, seeing that their membership materials arrived in the mail and all arrangements were handled for the annual fan club luncheon.

When I met my friends online to mourn Cathie's passing and, virtually speaking, cry on each other's shoulders, I was struck by the fact that, like Cathie, I've never met most of them in person. And yet, we talk every day on Twitter and on internet message boards.

I am aware that I will probably never know the full story of many of my online friends or meet them face to face. I know that among their number are crisis counselors, teachers, housewives, ministers, IT specialists, law enforcement personnel, and even a cardiac surgeon. They know that I'm a housewife, a mother, the wife of a minister, an artist.

We have become part of each other's daily lives. Some I know better than others. Some are in the US, some in other countries. Some seek my advice and I ask for theirs. We come together to support causes we believe in, to support each other in times of need and to support the actors we love from our favorite soap operas.

Just me and a few thousand friends, making a difference in our world.

This is why a soap opera is never just a soap opera.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Afterglow Lives On ...And On

This weekend Guiding Light fans will gather in Atlanta for a second "So Long Springfield" event and in a few weeks, they'll converge on Las Vegas for another one. Thinking of my friends who are planning on attending these events reminded me that I forgot to report on the events of October 9-11, 2009 in New York City, so here goes....

Although I was not able to attend the Guiding Light Fan Club Luncheon I felt like a part of me was there. Quite a few online friends of mine were there and also attended Crystal Chappell's Fan Club luncheon the next day and they made sure I was well represented.

I did a big custom button order for the Big Purple Dreams message board for Otalia fans, turning out 200 commemorative buttons to be given out to members attending these events, plus another 200 of my "Afterglow" buttons.

These buttons were to be given out at two events on Friday and Saturday nights, October 9th & 10th but so many Big Purple Dreamers showed up that they ran out of the buttons on the first night! (That's Liron Cohen, aka @Sunshineliron on the far left in this picture, someone who may be familiar to some readers of this blog.)

My friends also offered to deliver something special to the Guiding Light actors at the Fan Club event so I made my 1 inch "Afterglow" buttons and sent enough so every actor would get one. I was told each actor present received theirs and greatly appreciated them, too. Here is Jennifer Roszell (Eleni) with her button.

Then for a few of the GL actresses I had been interacting with on Twitter I made an "Afterglow" pocket mirror to go along with their buttons and also included a "Team Otalia" button, to thank them for their support of that storyline.

In this picture of a fan (Hi, Tori!) with Beth Chamberlin (Beth) and Tina Sloan (Lillian) you can see Beth's pocket mirror on the table in front of her. Later on Twitter, Beth & Tina both thanked me. Beth said "love, love, love the afterglow compact. Thank you!" and "I got one of your great compacts & recognized your name. You should sell via the glfc." Twitter has been a wonderful way to maintain contact with Guiding Light actors we miss seeing on TV and to find out what they're doing now. I've included links to Beth & Tina's latest projects here.