Thursday, May 26, 2011

O, Say it Ain’t So!

Yesterday marked the end of The Oprah Winfrey Show after 25 years.  Turns out, I ended up missing it which was kind of a bummer.  I know, I know, I should have a DVR.  It’s okay because I saw that the final episode is going to be replayed, I’ve seen a bunch of clips, and I just watched a Farewell to Oprah tribute on my local news so I’m good.  But, wow, it’s over. 
Was there life before Oprah?  Yeah, yeah, Phil Donahue.  I seem to remember Merv Griffin and afternoon Wheel of Fortune too.  And after school specials.  Whatever happened to after school specials?  But it was so long ago…I mean, Oprah occupied the four o’clock slot on Channel 6 (the home of the very best news station in the world, Action News!) since I was seven years old! 
I was a latch-key kid so my afternoon routine went a little something like this – got home from school, called my mom at work, watched the last half-hour of General Hospital, and then watched The Oprah Winfrey Show.  I’ve always been a fan of Oprah but sometimes I found her a little annoying.  Actually, I didn’t watch the show too much from the late 90s to the mid 2000s.  So, I missed the Book Club and the Angel Network and the Car Give Away.  I started watching again a few years ago, mainly because I have a crush on Dr. Oz.
I had a secret dream to be on Oprah.  When you’ve got a facial abnormality and feel like a misfit, where do you want to go to share your story?  Oprah, of course!  You’d share your story and everyone would see it and hear it and then they would stop staring or teasing because it was on Oprah and if it was on Oprah, people just seemed to understand and accept.  And yeah, maybe I hoped I’d get a book deal out of it.  Then I grew up. 
I never got to be on Oprah and I never got to be in her studio audience.  But a few years ago, my friend Lidia and I went on a trip to visit friends in Chicago.  Lidia, like me, has TCS.  She was the first person I ever met who looked just like me.  For many years, she was the only person I knew of who looked like me.  When you know there’s one other person out in the world who’s like you, who understands, it feels a little less lonely some days.  I’m pretty sure she had Oprah dreams too (well, actually she got to be on The Tyra Banks Show and Tyra was going to be the next Oprah!)
There were two things I wanted to see when I was in Chicago – Oprah’s studio and the American Girl store.  Look, I’ve had an American Girl doll since I was nine years old – I was hitting up that place.  I don’t care that I was approaching 30.  After perusing that Mecca of Girlness and buying Samantha some new dresses - she’s worn the same dress since I was nine, it was time for a change of clothes; our hosts drove us to the other side of the city and we got to see Oprah’s studio!!
Lidia and I jumped out of the van and had our pictures taken by the sign – pictures that I would’ve posted but I can’t find L  Then Lidia, who is much more outgoing than me, talked to an older gentleman standing by the garage and she asked if he knew Oprah.  When he told us that he saw her everyday and helped her out of the car, or something like that, we were like, WOW!!  We met someone who KNOWS Oprah!  That’s like two degrees of separation between me and Oprah!
Oprah had a huge impact on our culture over the past 25 years.  People have learned so much  by watching her show and, I think, maybe the world is a little kinder because of her influence.
There was life before Oprah and there will be life after Oprah.

Just make sure that life is “your best life.”    


  1. Totally off subject (although in my defense I *just* finished watching the Oprah finale and clicked your link because it seemed so timely), but anyway: you had a Samantha doll? Ooohhh...I always wanted Samantha. She just seemed so fancy, you know? Don't get me wrong, I loved my Kirsten, but oh! Samantha.

  2. Oprah DID do a show about the American Girl dolls, so I say your comment falls within the bounds of this post! My secret dream is to work at the American Girl archives (just don't tell anyone that, okay?) I loved Samantha, and um, still have her. She was certainly quite the elegant little doll!

  3. Wait, there's an American Girl archives? Does happiness know no bounds?!?