Soap fans are an amazing bunch.
A little excessive at times….maybe.
But there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about something.
One of the best things that I found at Super Soap 2007 was the other fans who I met along the way.
I’ve already mentioned some of them in previous blogs and I would say, on the whole, that soap fans are really friendly people.
In this category: Tina, Theresa and Kelly from Delaware as well as mother and daughter soap fans Bonnie from New Jersey and Christy from Tampa.
We met them all in the General Hospital line at 5:50 a.m. on Sunday. That was the time we got to the MGM gate and found that the Disney people had already cut off the line and was sending people up to the turnstiles to form a second line.
But there was no line…..It was many lines all squished together by the time they opened the gates. So basically, people who got there an hour after us ended up in front of us.
And that was what we were all predicting as we stood there for two hours waiting for the gates to open, only to be herded like a pen full of cattle up to the General Hospital line.
The girls from Delaware were a fun bunch, giving us tips on where the actors hung out, who they had already seen and who they wanted to see.
When the Disney people opened the gates and we were all getting pushed along in a huge mass of people – we lost the Delaware girls, but were able to stay with Christy and Bonnie.
Click here to view my photos from SSW.
Christy and I ended up pulling standby FastPasses for GH’s Bradford Anderson, who plays Damien Spinelli, the computer geek with the heart of gold.
Bradford has only been on the show about a year, but I would venture to say he is one of the most talented – and by far the most enjoyable – to watch. He really is a gem and, by watching him, somehow I knew he would be really fun to meet.
I absolutely love Spinelli, who calls himself The Jackal (of cyberspace).
I so admire his honesty and his loyalty and I just love Spinellispeak – like The Blonde One (Lulu), The Bad Blonde One (Maxi) and The Maternal One (Elizabeth).
I really didn’t think that I would be able to even get a standby pass for him because, as I predicted, he was the most popular ticket of the weekend. I was lucky enough to pull standby number 28, banking on the fact that I thought he would take all his standbys – and he did.
For one thing, he’s attractive – and sexy.
There is something really sexy about a guy who is kind and sincere – and that’s the way he appeared when interacting with each fan.
For another thing, he was so enthusiastic to see his fans. He was extremely attentive to each and every person.
When it was my turn to go up and meet him, Bradford greeted me with a big smile and a really nice hug….really nice.
While he was signing a picture for me, we chatted briefly about Spinelli. We posed for a photo and then I handed him a flier for Soapbox, asking him to check out our site. He gave me a big smile and said it sounds great – and then ended our visit with another big hug.
In that very short time, I came away feeling that he really cares about his fans.
So maybe, just maybe, he really will check out this site.
One can hope.
Soap fans are an amazing bunch.
My second day at Super Soap Weekend 2007 was definitely full of highs … and lows.
Michele and I finally ventured into the General Hospital line. Actually, you couldn’t call it a line because by the time we got to the park entrance, Disney employees had cut off the main line and sent us to the turnstiles at the front gate. Now, that wouldn’t have been a problem if Disney had created any kind of organized plan for us cutoff people. Instead, we were part of a mass group, milling around, yammering about the unfairness of the situation.
But that wasn’t the worst part. Oh, no. That came when Disney employees finally opened the turnstiles. Instead of organizing a single-file line, which they had the courtesy to do with the people who had shown up earlier, they herded us like cattle. Everyone was jostling for position. People were pushing through, trying to stay with their friends and family.
I was next to one woman who had a hold of her daughter’s purse, but as the mass of people continued forward, her arm was stretched to its limit. I wonder if they managed to stay together.
Another young lady had to leave the crush of people because she felt too closed in. Gee, I wonder why.
Someone else tripped on a curb and almost fell, coming thisclose to being cattle, er, I mean, crowd fodder.
It really was a lawsuit waiting to happen. I hope Disney takes this year between SSWs to formulate a plan that doesn’t involve splitting up the line or humiliating us with mass migration.
Michele and I got separated, but I managed to find her. However, the idiocy of Disney’s strategy became clearer as I noticed that Michele and I were in front of people who had actually got to the park before us. And some people who had arrived after us were much farther ahead in line.
It just wasn’t a very judicious or safe way to handle the large GH crowd. I don’t know, maybe Disney is trying to discourage people from coming back to SSW. If that’s the case, they succeeded because Michele and I talked to several participants who said they wouldn’t return next year.
Then again, I also talked to many who were having a good time. And, I must admit, after the early-morning GH fiasco, I enjoyed myself, too. Mostly that was because I got to meet a couple of the actors on my wish list.
First up was Rebecca Herbst, who plays Elizabeth on GH. I always enjoy seeing her (despite my insane jealousy of her flawless, porcelain-like skin). We usually chat about kids. She has a son who is about a month older than my eldest, so I asked how her children are doing. Then I told her how much I enjoy Jason and Elizabeth together. She is always so very sweet and gracious. It was a pleasure to visit with her again. Oh, yeah, and her husband, Michael Saucedo, was there, too, which was an extra bonus. He’s always very welcoming to the fans, as well. They make a good pair.
My second visit was with Sonya Eddy (Epiphany). Wow, what a pistol! She just seems like she’d be the life of any party. Smiling, joking, ribbing on people. A very warm lady. I told her, “I’m so glad I get to meet you. I knew you’d put a smile on my face.” And she did. Thanks, Sonya!
My SSW day ended with me waiting for Michele while she stood in the holding pen for Kelly Monaco. I met an interesting woman named Nikki, who told me about a book she wrote, Samuel Tilden: The Real 19th President. She also had some fascinating tales about her involvement in politics and show business. You really are quite the story-teller, Nikki. I wish you the best of luck with the book.
Perhaps it’s fitting that my most defining moment of SSW happened at the end. I was sitting down, still waiting for Michele outside KeMo’s autograph site, when I struck up a conversation with Rhonda from Illinois. It started innocently enough. I asked her if she was having a good SSW experience. She said she was more than ready to leave, but her daughter was sticking it out. In fact, 13-year-old Alexis was in KeMo’s holding pen, too.
It wasn’t a surprise to hear that a teenager was making the most of her time at SSW. But what Rhonda told me next made Alexis’ effort a little more extraordinary. The 13-year-old has an immune system disorder that requires often-painful, needle-injected medication. It means that she tires out easily, often requiring long naps. And this is something she’s been dealing with since she was a small child.
Rhonda was understandably worried as Kelly’s autograph session was stretching into two hours. Her daughter had been standing there the whole time. I assured Rhonda that Alexis would get some one-on-one time with Kelly. The teen was No. 4 on the standby list. I’d heard that KeMo was really generous with her fans, so I figured she’d find a way to fit in everyone who was waiting.
But then Alexis came crying to her mother that Kelly was leaving without taking her standbys, and my heart sank. I was crushed just watching her; I can only imagine how her mother felt.
But there was nothing we could do.
I watched Rhonda walk away with her daughter, and a tide of perspective washed over me. Suddenly, my aggravations with SSW didn’t seem like such a big deal, after all.
There are some people that you meet in life who really help keep things in perspective.
They make you look at the big picture and realize that the little things in life really aren’t that important.
Ten-year-old Jenna and her mother Jolece are two of those people.
And I had the pleasure – or rather the honor – of spending time with them Sunday in the “holding pen” waiting with those who held standby tickets for Kelly Monaco aka Sam McCall on General Hospital.
So as we stood together for two hours while fans with regular FastPasses got face time with Kelly, we talked.
I learned that Jenna loves to dance.
I learned that Jenna is a big KeMo fan from when she won season one of Dancing With The Stars.
And I also learned that Jenna had a brain tumor…. that a doctor at the Mayo Clinic cut out the tumor in January and that her latest MRI last month showed some kind of change and they’re not sure what it means.
Understandably, Jolece is worried. But she puts on a brave, positive front.
And Jenna – well she is the cutest little thing and you’d never know what she’s gone through in her young life by looking at her.
Jenna was just so excited about meeting Kelly and she had written a message to Kelly on one of her cards for Jennaswish.org. You see, Jolece has waged a campaign to fight pediatric brain tumors and has a website telling Jenna’s story and raising awareness for the disease.
Click here to view the website.
As the time ticked away and the people with regular FastPasses just kept coming – it became apparent that Kelly wasn’t going to get to her standbys.
Kelly was wonderful with her fans. In fact, she was too wonderful. By that I mean she took a lot of time with each fan. She was incredibly attentive, especially to the children. By watching Kelly interact with her fans I was impressed with her sincerity. And with every passing fan, I really hoped that I would get the chance to meet her.
She took a lot of time going into the crowd, signing autographs and taking photos with those who didn’t have FastPasses or standby passes.
I think it’s wonderful that she is so giving.
But here’s the thing….Time ran out. The Disney handlers were rushing her to finish up. And the people who took the time to pull a standby pass with the hope that she would take them were left out in the cold.
At the end, Kelly ran around the railing trying to get photos with some of the standbys, but only a few ended up with a photo or autograph. Everything happened so fast. Jolece’s camera appeared to misfire and the card that Jenna wanted to give Kelly was lost in the shuffle.
I looked down and Jenna was fighting back tears and tears were streaming down Jolece’s face as she tried to comfort her daughter.
Another woman and I tried to get the attention of the Disney people. Kelly hadn’t left the area yet, but it didn’t look good that she was coming back…..Then she circled around.
I asked Jolece to get out another card and have Jenna write her message on it. Jolece dug in her purse and came out empty.
Dejectedly, she looked up. She was all out of her cards.
Then I remembered…Jolece had given me a card when we first met two hours earlier. I pulled out the card and Jenna wrote her message.
Kelly came within ear shot. We called her over and she spotted Jenna. She put her arm around her, posed for photos and read Jenna’s card. Kelly said she was about to cry.
Click here to view more photos of Kelly and Jenna.
I am a believer that everything happens for a reason….Several times during those two hours, I thought of leaving. We had a long drive back and I was really tired.
But something – I can’t explain it – kept me in that holding pen until the end….I know it sounds corny, but it’s true.
At the end of the day, it didn’t matter that I didn’t meet Kelly or get a photo with her.
It mattered that Jenna did.
(Come back Wednesday to read about my encounter with Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), which was worth the price of admission, and my overall wrap-up of the event – the highs and the lows. I’ll also include a link to all my SSW photos.)