Category Archives: alcoholic parents

Look Where They Started…

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In the fifty years since the soap opera, “Another World,” was first

filmed, there have been a half dozen of major actors and actresses

whose acting talents sprang from there. The soap opera began on

May 4, 1964. It remained a popular culture favorite from 1964 until it

filmed its last show in 1999. It had a ‘good run’ of thirty-five years.

I found this interesting entertainment news in my AARP News Bulletin.

I receive this every month, along with the “AARP Magazine.”

I like the way the article phrases this: “A lot of now-famous

stars cut their acting teeth on the show.”

I am not sure if you have ever watched this soap opera, if you did,

these names won’t be quite the same surprise as they were to me! I

was, during my college years, addicted to “The Young and the Restless”

and a short half hour soap opera called, “Ryan’s Hope.” I see a few

of those actors and actresses in Hallmark movies and playing character

roles in movies and television shows.

Here are the Alumni’s from “Another World:”

Morgan Freeman played “Dr. Roy Bingham,” a fine architect in the

fictional town of “Bay City” where the soap opera takes place,

from 1982-1984.

Morgan’s most notable, Academy Award nominated role was in “Driving

Miss Daisy,” which was filmed in 1989. I enjoy him in all of his roles.

He has been recently in “Last Vegas” with the other three iconic legends.

Morgan plays Johnny Depp’s mentor in, “Transcendence,” at age 76!

Brad Pitt played “Chris,” a high school basketball player in 1987. He

played in his ‘breakout’ role (let’s fact it, as a shirtless ‘hunk’

in, “Thelma and Louise,” in 1991. At age 50, Brad was the producer,

along with played the role of an abolitionist-carpenter in, “12 Years

a Slave.”

Kyra Sedgwick, played murder-for-hire victim, “Julia Shearer”, from 1982

until 1983. She has been in several movies, along with her role as the

lead on a police force, “The Closer,” on television. My favorite movie

with Kyra is, “Something to Talk About,” where she plays Julia Roberts’

sister. They have very similar facial details like their beautiful eyes

and smiles. Wile 48 years old, she plays along side of Sylvester

Stallone in “Reach Me.” It is a ‘feel good’ Indie film, getting a lot

of critical acclaim and notice. (She is also in “Door to Door,” with

William H. Macy, check this movie out, later in the list…)

Kelsey Grammer was in “Another World,” as an emergency room physician

named, “Dr. Conrad,” from 1984 until 1985. There are several shows that

I remember on television with him, but mainly his role in “Frasier,”

is my favorite. He is 59, in his character role of a human villain,

“Harold Attinger,” in “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

William H. Macy, played “Frank Fisk,” for the year of 1982. He is one

of my favorites in the movie made for television, “Door to Door.”

In that movie, he plays an inspiring man with an indomitable spirit,

who has Cerebral Palsy. He also plays a rather hapless ‘would be’

kidnapper in that strange movie, “Fargo.” His ability to become a

variety of characters is amazing, if you ever wish to see his long

list of movies and ‘resume!’

At age 64, William portrays the head of the dysfunctional family

on the television show, “Shameless.”

*I am weird, but like the television show, “Fargo,” with Billy Bob

Thornton, by the way.*

Although, definitely NOT AARP material, Lindsay Lohan, was discovered

on “Another World,” in her role as a mischievous teen, “Alexandra”

or “Alli” Fowler, (1996-97). My family enjoyed her in the remake film

of “The Parent Trap, 1998. She has portrayed Elizabeth Taylor in a

television movie and recently was in one of my posts about Garrison

Keillor, in “A Prairie Home Companion.” She is probably equally famous

as Justin Bieber, in her crazy antics, partially due to addictions.

She is at age 27 star of a reality TV show, “Lindsay,” about her post-

rehab life. One of my personal favorite Lindsay Lohan movies is with

Jane Fonda, called, “Georgia Rule.” She has talent and will overcome

her problems, which I do believe stem from family, biology, and money.

Have you ever been a fan of a soap opera?

If not, were you a fan of any of the night time ones, like “Dynasty,”

“Falcon Crest,” “Dallas,” “Knot’s Landing,” “Brothers and Sisters,”

or any newer ones, like “Nashville?” I am a fan of Sunday’s “Revenge”

and also, do sometimes watch “Parenthood.” They consider them “serials.”

Slurred Speech

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The Dark Side of Comedy

While laughing and coming up with a wide selection of old time shows

that were either variety and/or talk shows, we came upon a somber

moment. My coworkers and I had listed The Jackie Gleason Show, which

included a funny character named, “Crazy Guggenheim.” We had also talked

about how many of the talk show ‘hosts’ or ‘hostesses’ held cigarettes

in their fingers or had a amber colored beverage in their glasses.

Who doesn’t remember Dean Martin, for example, having a drink in

his hand?

By the way, Frank Fontaine portrayed Crazy Guggenheim on both the

Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny shows. He died of 58 years old, about

to donate a check for heart disease studies. His heart attack was

a shock to those who loved him. He knew how to sing well, having

filled a whole album of the songs he sang, while Jackie G. portrayed

his famous alter ego, “Joe the Bartender.” Frank F. was famous for

his slurred speeches, his drunken behavior and his bug-eyed look

and facial expressions.

We thought that it was interesting how times ‘had changed’ and

decided there were “pro’s” and “con’s” to the past.

Let me insert a famous line from the movie, “A Night at the Opera,”

(1935):

“Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and

necking in the parlor.”

This line was spoken by Groucho Marx, in his portrayal of the film’s

character, Otis B. Driftwood.

We know now that famous people are just like us, in many ways.

We also realize that, although there were “Time” and “Newsweek”

magazines trying to bring to the forefront of the population,

the downfalls of alcohol, drugs, gambling and smoking, there were

many disregarding the after effects, side effects and we did not

have such a stigma attached to these ‘bad’ habits. Two of us at my

lunch table on Thursday, became rather sad and quiet. They were

reflecting on recalled deaths of family members due to smoking and

cancer. One of us had experienced abusive, “mean drunks” for parents.

We decided that addictions, such as these, are still not considered

as ‘big of a deal.’ Society, in some ways, continues to ‘brush them

under the table.’

Even the subject of rehabilitation has had its lighter comedic film

moments. People either laugh, due to the antics and situations that

don’t seem real or out of being uncomfortable. It is hard to explain

why we laugh when someone runs into a wall, falls off a roof, or

trips and does a pratfall.

Treatment for the addictions, in the form of actually facing that

these ARE diseases, is important. Still, we felt a little sad

about the fun we had, when young and felt ‘invincible’ and our

lives, for the most part, had been impermeable to the aging

results of sometimes almost impossible challenges.

Slurred speech, in the ways a person sometimes cannot help it,

while in persons who have had a stroke, live with the challenge

of disabilities and speech delays are NOT FUNNY! We would not

laugh, hopefully, when someone has a speech ‘impediment!’

We still felt a little ambiguous, as we thought back upon the

variety of comedy skits that made us roar with uncontrollable

laughter. Melvin admitted to sometimes, while in the armed

forces, being drunk and thinking it was funny when his buddies

and he pulled pranks while drunk. It is considered a serious

offense, and if caught, these days, you could be court-martialed!

Melvin remarked, that in the ‘old war stories’ of the past, often

there would be stories of men ‘letting off steam.’ We also agreed

that the Viet Nam war movies, seemed to include a prevalent use

of drugs.

Who can forget Crazy Guggenheim’s humorous lines, his leaning

into a person, while breathing out his alcoholic breath? Who

cannot forget when there have been famous movies, with drunken

scenes, sometimes with innocent types of sloppy behaviors?

Who can forget the drunken orgies in “Animal House?”

Who has seen and enjoyed some teenaged or college-aged

movies (or personal memories) where it was very funny being

drunk or being around people who were high?

Who did not laugh (if they are above 40 years old) at Cheech

and Chong’s movie, “Up in Smoke?”

Adding, “Arthur,” with Dudley Moore and The Benny Hill Show,

to the mix, we had international connections of drinking in

movies and television shows.

I have seen Doris Day, Sandra Dee, Humphrey Bogard, Elizabeth

Taylor, Richard Burton and other classic actors and actresses

who have done scenes where they portrayed alcoholics. Some

were quite dramatic and serious roles with “mean” and “sloppy”

drunken roles as their focus. Yet, some were fun ‘romp’ movies

where the drunks were silly.

A lot of comedies include either drugs, alcohol or addictions,

going over the top in their portrayals.

There are also famous movies with the dark and angry side of

the picture:

“Days of Wine and Roses” and “Leaving Las Vegas” come to mind.

We have moved forward in some ways, then stepped back, too.

After all, we still have three “Hangover” movies…

I still will watch comedy sketches with the Saturday Night

Live crew, some who are great at making me laugh, acting

silly while stumbling around and falling down drunk.

Unbalanced Equation

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Sometimes when I am at the optometrist’s office, I hear those words,

“Is this lens better or worse than the last one?

Choose A lens or B lens,

Now which is better, B lens or C lens?

Compare A with C…” It reminds me of first man or second man,

and I am thinking of men not lenses, at that point. Strange how your

mind can wander to a whole different topic in those quiet and intimate

moments with your eye doctor!

Relationships are very hard to deal with and sometimes it is so much

work that people give up. The other challenge is the past luggage, then

there are always new mountains and ruts in the road to patch up on your

journeys together.

I was given a great question by an old, special friend,

“What if you had a chance to be someone’s ‘one and only’ but they weren’t

yours?”

The answer is really no answer until the situation is met and the choice to

move forward or back out of it chosen.

On one hand, you could celebrate being someone’s center of their universe!

On the other hand, you could struggle with your feeling not totally fulfilled

because of the unbalanced equation.

This happens more than one would think. I have been writing for almost a

year now and often expressing my joy at hearing of a “successful and long

term relationship.” I enjoy the variety of love stories my friends, family and

coworkers have shared with me. Most don’t tell me their unrequited love

stories nor their possibly miserable marital or relationship tales.

Here is a fairly unhappy and struggling story that has limped along for years.

I have someone who I have known for about 5 years now, who I have spent

time with, danced with and shared a few movie times together. We have been

to each other’s house and I know her husband well.

This is the story of an unbalanced equation that started way back in high school.

The young teenager was growing up in a fairly dysfunctional (alcoholic) family

situation. Let’s name her Susie since she is usually nice and bubbly, but there are

shadows that cross her eyes or a wrinkle that creases her brow that indicate hidden

sorrow. The person she saw as her savior, adored her from afar. It was like most

teen situations, obvious to her, the receiver of such admiration and adoration. Susie

liked the man, Tom, but felt no flicker of real love flaming in her heart. She did not

really feel attracted to him on any level. She felt his tall, gangly basketball player

body was okay but she did like his staring at her across the classroom.

Susie felt hopeful that someone would care for her, possibly take care of her and

she did what some teens do in these situations, make the best out of what life

was handing her at the time. When she let one of Tom’s friends know she was

interested, from sophomore year through senior year of high school there wasn’t

a Friday or Saturday night she was not with Tom.

Every dance or school function or even one of Tom’s family occasions, Susie was

included and invited. She felt needed, wanted and loved. What else could a young

teenager expect out of her dating years?

Well, there were moments, of course, where the true reality shone through in her

diary. There were times where she fully realized she was almost “scamming Tom.”

She started to feel trapped in her senior year and looked upon the vast emptiness

of her waiting tables, which is an honorable profession and sometimes quite likely

to provide good income. She was at a restaurant on Rte. 23 that no longer exists.

She enjoyed men who laughed at her jokes and flirted with her. She did not have

good self esteem but was aware that men liked her long, thin legs and her shiny

naturally blonde ponytail swinging as she crossed the floor to their breakfast

table. Truckers were her mainstay and she did think often in her fantasy world of

taking them up on their veiled and sometimes more obvious sexual requests.

Tom proposed to Susie on their prom night. So cliche, she thought, but she also

felt like he was a good hearted man, he was her hero and saviour. She said “Yes”

and all her girlfriends were envious of her engagement to the tall basketball man

heading off to OSU in the Fall.

Fast forward almost 40 years and their is a lackluster look about Susie. Even my

friends who went out with her and our group to dance, would say, “What’s the

matter with Susie?”

“Was there ever any other hopeful suitors,” I asked over coffee late one night two

years ago.

“Robin, I never felt like I could think about someone else after our first Christmas

at Tom’s house. There was a stocking on the mantle for me, there were gifts with

my name. The family embraced me so tightly that I felt loved and comforted by

their presence.”

“Was there ever recently someone who crossed your mind as a potential new choice?”

I made Susie search her mind.

She right away named a single man that we both knew. He has long, scrawny “chicken

legs” and we have nicknamed him that. His name is Terry and I suppose using his real

name is part of this sad tale, since I know he would have done anything to win her love

even when I met him 5 years ago. He does not touch her hand, her back or dance with

her. But he buys us drinks and looks longingly at Susie. He listens intently to any of her

stories:  work, home or child (her only child is in her late twenties.)

Terry is not at work anymore, he has been let go, because he had used all his sick time and

FMLA time up. He is retired due to having battled cancer and is losing at the moment.

Last Christmas, Susie begged me to go to Terry’s house with her one night after dancing a

few hours. I said that I would call Tom and tell him that I needed you to come over and

drink coffee at my apartment, which is a block away from all the downtown bars and

taverns.

She said, “Oh, would you mind terribly?” I am so sure that I am going to get into

trouble in the after life because I am quite willing to do such espionage for a friend who,

this is very important though! NOT having any kind of affair.

I knew it would cheer Terry up to see Susie and it would help ease her pain just a little

to see him. She had contemplated when I met her and she had toured my apartment

leaving Tom. I felt now it was too late, but what harm could it do to spend a few moments

holding a man’s hand who absolutely loved her and she felt the same love for him back?

Susie and Terry are an example of what could have been. Their story is like one from books

like “Doctor Zhivago” or other classic examples of unrequited love.

To feel that way, even for 5 years which slipped by quickly, that is like the expression:

“To have loved and lost is better than to have never loved at all!”

Shakespeare play, “Love’s Labour Lost” is possibly the source.

(p.s. I am not judging this situation but hope no one will be too upset at my openness

to this situation. I repeat, there is no lust just love and probably since Terry is given only

4-6 months to live, this is not going to change. They did not move or act upon any of their

emotions while they were both healthy normal adults in the past 5 years….)