“Watchin’ My Stories”

I can remember my paternal grandmother saying this.   Her ‘stories” were (circa the early to mid 60s) “As The World Turns”, “Secret Storm”, “The Edge of Night” and “Search for Tomorrow”.

She had a thing for CBS.

She hated being interrupted while ‘watchin’ her stories” so she was completely incommunicado from about 11 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday.   She’d watch with great interest all the grainy black and white images of the same basic ‘daytime drama” all day long.   One was situated in “Oakdale

Another in Mapleton.



There was (and perhaps is) a basic formula to soap plots.   They all have the basic make-up.   They’re all centered around one upstanding family.  Daddy was either a doctor or a lawyer.  Mom was a housewife and rock solid pillar of the community.  Gramps wore suspenders and Hugh Beaumont approved sweaters with patches on the elbows.   He was wizened by his many years on this planet and the director and props people made that actor portraying him even more convincable by putting bi-focals on hims.   The kids,  Babs and Chuck were two years apart in age and currently enrolled in Oakdale High School, but being a youngster on a TV soap opera affects the pituitary gland, somehow.   Just one year ago, they were toddlers.

There’s always a reviled lose woman, too.  The one with the seven marriages who was hated for the first 20 years, then suddenly becomes a beloved character who’s shady past is forgotten and forgiven. 

A hospital plays an integral role.   

Eventually, so will a courtroom because the Town Slut’s murder trial HAS to be held somewhere.

But the main story here is how my grandmother…and perhaps yours–referred to daytime dramas.  They were her ‘stories”.  A co-worker and I decided that was a decidedly Southern term, but one fellow staffer from Detroit heard her grandmother AND mom refer to them that way and another colleague from Californian said her grandmother called them that as well.  


While I’m at it, ever heard of the term “tump over”?   It means to fall over but I do believe it has a great deal to do with the distance between the item and ground contact.   A bottle of ketchup can ‘tump over” while on the table.  If the bottle somehow leaped upwards or rolled over, then crashed to the floor below, it would have ‘fallen”.

Now, that term IS Southern, I think.

Or British.


  1. Laurie, The term “Tump” is thoroughly English in its’ origin! The reason it is heard so often in The South is that so many of the settlers in the South were from Scotland/Britain and a few Irish, too. We also use the expression to “Stump” one’s toe. rather than the more vague “Stub” one’s toe which has certain amputatorical overtones, methinks ….. just sayin’

  2. Do you remember me talking about Sara Lucy? The old lesbian couple who were Mama’s best friends in California? They were “The Secret Storm” addicts, and refused to be distracted from their stories. I myownself was addicted to “All My Children” for years and years, after I got a TV in 1992 that is.

    Humans are storytelling apes. Language was probably invented to facilitate gossip, which is all stories are (in the soap sense, anyway). Do you ever check out the web-only indie soaps? “In Between Men” is a good’un.

  3. My mother turned me on to the “Edge of Night” and I watched it every day after school. I don’t rightly recall referring to it as “my story.” Probably “my show.”

    As in “I HAVE to see my show today.”

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