General Hospital Nurse's Ball
Since the age of 3, there was something about General Hospital that piqued my interest and drew me in. My mother was already a viewer when I got caught up watching Robin Scorpio, portrayed by Kimberly McCullough, on the screen. Being close in age, this was the moment carrying dolls everywhere I went began for me and my little girl wardrobe consisted of numerous frilly and flowery dresses. I essentially mimicked everything she did, even down to acting out some of her lines. She wasn't the only GH icon to spark an interest in a three year's old mind.... Dr. Alan Quartermaine, a.k.a. Prince Charming. The Prince Doctor, Stuart Damon, quickly became a favorite after my mother and I watched Rodgers and Hammerstein's version of Cinderella and spent numerous hours acting out the movie. She to pretend to be Prince Charming. every. single. time! When I got to school age, my fun ended and I no longer was able to watch GH and act out characters.
A few years passed until 1994, my fourth grade year, when there was talk about a Nurse's Ball. School just happened to dismiss an hour early and I was able to sit down in front of the television and watch some drama unfold (if memory serves me correctly, it pertained to Lucy Coe, portrayed by Lynn Herring). The beloved soap drew me back in again. From that moment on and a desperation to not miss the first annual Nurse's Ball, I quickly learned the beauty of VHS tapes.... then, soon a DVR, SoapNet, ABC Player, and any other means I could get my hands on so not to miss. And, I haven't missed an episode since.
Little did I know just how much a show would impact my life. I was severely bullied and discriminated against in school by students, teachers, counselors, and the principal. Even to the point of being told I would never graduate... 4 graduations later my highest earned degree is a Master of Business Administration. Of those many years, I would sit in class all day looking at my watch waiting for it to turn 3:10 p.m., right down to the second, when that final bell rang for the day so I could go home. My mother would always be at home waiting on me with snack in hand because she knew I had gone the whole day without eating a thing. We would sit down, push play, and watch "our story". At that moment, my day, previously, didn't matter and that one show would be my moment of intermission from cruelty, hurt, pain, stress, and nervousness to peace, love, safety, and joy. The one thing I looked forward to through all my suffering. And, a special time with my mother. Even though, now, we don't get to watch it together everyday, we still call each other up to talk about how frustrated we are with this story line or to voice our predictions of that story line. These moments are some of my most treasured in my life. General hospital will always be much more than a soap opera to me.
There are few things in life that can take you back to the exact age and moment you were when you watch something again. Few things in life where you gain so much joy out of someone else's drama...it's like therapy on a screen. And, the Nurse's Ball is part of that and never disappoints, except for the years it didn't take place. There is something about watching your favorite characters get dressed up and on a stage having a great time, mostly drama free..Lucy did come across a dead man hanging behind the stage at one of the balls. The singing, the dancing, the Broadway like performances all for a greater cause to bring awareness and raise money for HIV/AIDS...that memorial quilt made to honor real life people. It's hard to believe the first Nurse's Ball took place 20 years ago ending with years of traditional "Lucy in her underwear" moments. Some of the highlight moments for me during the previous years: Jason carrying Robin off stage when she broke down talking about having HIV, Lucy and Damien singing "Anything You Can Do", the Wizard of Oz act put on by the Quatermaines, and Lucy rolling unto the stage during one of her numerous evening gown changes where her wardrobe closet opens up and reveals her in her undies, once again. And, we cannot forget last year's Nurse's Ball which marked 50 years for the show that had a lot of special acts with some long time fan favorites returning for the special event. So to say I am excited about this year's Nurses Ball may be an understatement!
Congratulations to General Hospital for 51 years of memories and Thank You to all who have played a part of production! You truly were a refuge for a little girl who was bullied in school.