My own love of soaps goes back to radio days! Living with my
grandmother, coming home from school for lunch and listening with her
every day to "Our Gal Sunday," "Ma Perkins," and "The Romance of Helen
Trent." On Sundays, after dinner, the entire family would trek into the
front room to listen to the ongoing saga of "One Man's Family." I was
lucky enough to be home the day the first General Hospital was aired. I
watched on a tiny 10 inch TV with a wire coat hanger for an antenna! I
have loved it from the first day!
Elizabeth Webber's beloved gram, wasn't always the
calm, assured and happy woman she is today. Audrey March was beautiful,
but insecure and emotional, and didn't always make the best choices. She
was a nurse, but was working as a stewardess, at that time quite a
glamour job, She met Dr Hardy when she came to visit her sister Lucille
March, Head of Nurses, at GH. Her romance with Dr Steven Hardy was
tumultuous to say the least.
When they finally married,
Audrey wanted children, and this wasn't happening. Thinking Steve was
sterile, Audrey had herself artificially inseminated without telling
Steve. A tragic accident caused the loss of the baby, the truth came out
and they divorced. Audrey went to Vietnam to care for war-orphaned
She returned and went to work at GH, where to
show Steve she was over him she married Tom Baldwin, brother of Lee
Baldwin who would eventually become the stepfather of our own Scotty
Baldwin, it was an unhappy union, as she did not love him, and one
drunken night, Tom raped her. She was divorcing him when she discovered
she was pregnant. Fearing Tom would take the child she ran away, (in
real life, after a long drawn out Audrey cant get pregnant story, Rachel
Ames became pregnant in real life, so they wrote it in, then she
developed health problems in real life, and had to take a leave from the
show so Audrey ran away) After the child, Tommy, was born, she hid him
with a sitter and came back to work, (The first Tommy as a baby was
played by Rachel's real child, so the first Tommy was a girl!)
Eventually of course, it all came out, as it always
does, the woman who Audrey had hired to take care of Tommy, her plan
being to marry and then 'adopt' her own child, was blackmailing her, Tom
found out, and kidnapped Tommy, who became ill with a heart problem.
The sitter, Peg Nelson was killed , for which Audrey was blamed. Her
trial for murder in 1971 had one of the highest ratings ever for a
soap. Being cleared of that, again she went from the frying pan into
the fire, and married Dr Hobart, the surgeon who had saved Tommy's life.
The man had injured his hands and could no longer operate, he had become
an alcoholic, it was a sad, bad marriage, and eventually he left her for
a much younger woman. She divorced him, and finally, she and Dr Hardy
admitted they had always loved each other, and became engaged. Before
the could marry however, Dr Hardy was in an accident which left him in a
wheel chair and 'half a man' so he felt he shouldn't marry Audrey, who
had finally gotten her act together, and wouldn't put up with that at
all. They were married in the hospital chapel. Tom Baldwin who everyone
thought was dead, then showed up alive which validated their
marriage. Tom eventually realized he could not reclaim his wife or
child and left town, Dr Hardy and Audrey were married for the third and
final time, they had a long, happy, successful, loving marriage. Audrey
had finally realized her potential and became the wonderful woman she is
When Port Charles came on in 1993, Audrey was the
victim of deranged patient, and had ER brain surgery with a power drill.
Her granddaughter Sarah Webber came to stay with her during her recovery
and eventually Elizabeth showed up in town also, and she and Gram became
She recovered and went on as the Head of Nursing, a
position her beloved sister Lucille had held many years ago.
In 2002 she was honored by GH on air for being the
longest running actress, as Audrey was given a surprise party for her
many years at GH!
Rachel Ames is a talented actress, her delivery and
speech are from the old school when diction, posture and a good voice
was most important, an elegant classy lady, she always gave a perfect
She made the decision to retire last year, she was
on the show from 1967 to 2007!
I wrote her a good-bye note, and received a charming
hand written one back. She said it truly was her decision to
retire, she was happy with all her years at GH, and has never forgotten
her fans. A truly gracious lady!