Tuesday, February 5, 2008


There was a time when I spent many afternoons in Port Charles, NY. Back in high school, I really didn't have much choice - Mom was a nurse and she liked to watch 'General Hospital' just before she went to work on her shift. (This was back in the BC days: Before Cable and in a house with only one set.)

Then in 1980, I began a summer job doing the night audit for one of the properties belonging to a Westhampton Beach resort. Many of the afternoons were spent on the beach - getting my first exposure to REAL ocean waves after only a few visits to Misquomicut and Hammonassett (nearly killed me that first time). But most weekdays I found myself falling back under the spell of the soap opera. Especially since they amped up the excitement with the Ice Princess storyline.

And it was during that time when I first "met" Amy Vining.

SoapCentral has a nice biography for her character which I'd like to quote here:

"Amy Vining is the daughter of Jason and Barbara Vining. Barbara's child died at birth and her baby was switched with Leslie Faulkner's daughter, Laura. When Leslie tracked down her daughter it was in the nick of time. Leslie rescued her daughter from a cult and brought her back to Port Charles. In 1979, 16 year old Amy tracked down her big sister, Laura, who had just married Scotty Baldwin. Amy turned out to be quite a bit of trouble. She had a knack for discovering everyone's secrets and loved to gossip. Putting a strain on Laura and Scotty's rocky marriage, Amy went to live with Leslie Webber and her second husband, Dr. Rick Webber.

In 1982, Amy fell for handsome boxer Johnny Morrissey. He broke her heart when he decided to leave town after his manager, Packy, succumbed to a heart attack.Through the years, Amy and Laura's sisterly bond remained firm. Amy loved her sister's family and was always there for Laura when times became difficult. Unfortunately that was frequently. The biggest strain on their relationship occurred when Laura faked her death and didn't tell her sister Amy who deeply mourned her loss. When Amy found out that Laura was alive she was initially overjoyed but then profoundly hurt. Eventually Laura and Amy worked through it and Amy was able to forgive Laura.

Even through Amy has remained single, over the years she's flirted with quite a few of Port Charles's eligible bachelors. She also developed a friendship with Elton Herbert, Laura's office manager at Deception but she abhors his tendency to gossip. She continues to work at General Hospital."

Then there's this one from GHFF, an MSN.group:

"In all her years of nursing at General Hospital, Amy Vining has dished out a lot of medicine. But those figures pale in comparison to the quantities of gossip that she's administered. The biggest talker in Port Charles, Amy keeps a running commentary going on the lives of everyone around her, often to the detriment of her own life. She'd have a terrible reputation as a gabber (instead of the merely dubious one that she does endure) were it not for the fact that one thing about her is bigger than her mouth - her heart.

Amy's parents, Barbara and Jason Vining, raised her with her big sister, Laura. Barbara's baby had died in childbirth and was switched with Lesley Faulkner's newborn, Laura. Years later, after Jason died, Lesley tracked down Laura and saved her from a Canadian cult.

After Laura wed Scotty Baldwin in 1979, 16-year-old Amy showed up on their doorstep in Port Charles and never left. The incorrigible teen put an added strain on a union that was shaky from the start. Eventually, Amy came to reside with Lesley and her second husband, Dr. Rick Webber.

In 1982, Amy was swept up in an unlikely romance with handsome boxer Johnny Morrissey. But the pinings of her heart weren't enough to overcome the aching in the heart of Johnny's manager, Packy. After the older man succumbed to a heart attack, Johnny departed Port Charles, delivering an emotional knockout to Amy.

Over the years, Amy has been a source of endless aggravation for her big sister, Laura. At times, it's seemed like they still were teenagers. But Amy also has been there for her sibling in her hours of need - and there have been plenty of them. As a result, the bond between the women is strong and true, if occasionally strained. Thus, when Laura faked her own death in 1996, Amy was deeply hurt that Laura didn't let her in on the scam. She mourned for her sister and was as furious with her when she turned up alive as she was overjoyed to see her.

Through it all, Amy has had flirtations with some of Port Charles's most eligible bachelors, such as Damian Smith, and famous saxophonist Dave Koz, and has exchanged a flirtatious smile or two with Lt. Marcus Taggert.

Amy found a friend in Elton Herbert, Office Manager for her sister Laura's company, Deception, but one thing she can't stand about Elton is his tendency to gossip!

Amy continues to work as a nurse at General Hospital. With her ear always on the gossip mill, Amy is the prime source of "unofficial" news around the hospital."

I left in those last few lines because until 'General Hospital' decides to address the issue, Amy Vining will continue to live on in Port Charles. However, the actress who portrayed her, Shell Kepler, passed away on Friday at the much too young age of 49.

The Pure Prairie League song is now playing in my head in her memory.......

Toby OB

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