“Calvin would have been moved at the turnout,” mused the newly-widowed DiDi Bannister-Stoner at the huge crowd that had come to pay their last respects for the highly-decorated police detective who would go on to become Monticello’s Chief of Police.
It had been a little over twenty-five years since one of television’s first reality shows – chronicling the lives of some of the more colorful residents of Monticello – had gone off the air. The Edge of Night it was originally called. “The” was later dropped from the title and it became simply Edge of Night.
The first episode aired on CBS on April 2, 1956. Changing networks in 1975 to ABC, the final episode aired on December 28, 1984... paving the way for other reality shows like Cops, 48 Hours Mystery, Celebrity Rehab, Boston Med, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Real Housewives franchise, and yes, even The Jersey Shore.
Airing during the daytime, which was usually reserved for soap operas, Edge of Night followed some of Monticello’s highest profile families, like the Whitneys, the Karrs and the Kavanaughs, and the goings-on in the District Attorney’s office, as well as at the local hospital, newspaper and TV & radio stations.
“It’s good to have Cliff and Mitzi move back to Monticello,” thought DiDi. “Especially now that Calvin’s gone and Calvin, Jr. has decided to move to New York permanently after law school. It’ll be good to have old, dear friends around... as long as Cliff doesn’t start bugging me about opening up our criminal law practice again. Nope, I’m much happier using my legal expertise working pro bono with nonprofit organizations.”
DiDi and Calvin’s former police partner, Chris Egan, had become close friends as well, especially after Calvin became Police Chief and Chris left the force to open up her own private detective agency. DiDi was often required to use her services. Even working with some of the most well-respected charity organizations, she had discovered that philanthropy often has ulterior motives.
Chris was the one who’d notified DiDi of Calvin’s fatal heart attack. She’d been monitoring the police scanner and immediately went to the house that she and Calvin had moved to 24 years ago, right after Calvin, Jr. was born. (DiDi had in fact, announced her pregnancy to Calvin on the final episode of Edge of Night.) It was Chris who drove DiDi to the hospital and Chris who held her hand when the doctors gave her the news.
“Yes,” thought DiDi. “There’s nothing like old, dear, friends.”
Although it was under sad circumstances, she was happy to see Mike and Nancy Karr, again. They’d moved to Florida after Mike’s retirement from the District Attorney’s office. Schuyler and Raven Whitney had even flown in from the West Coast to attend Calvin’s funeral. The Whitneys had moved to California not long after Edge of Night was canceled and made a (even bigger) fortune investing in the technology industry. They’d been looking at different real estate properties since their arrival. Rumor had it that they were considering buying back the Whitney Mansion that had once belonged to their Aunt Geraldine and moving into their old Monticello homestead.
“I’ll believe that when I see it!” DiDi quietly chuckled to herself. “Raven and Skye practically invented the term ‘jet-setter;’ hard to imagine them settling down in one place at all, much less, Monticello.”
It had been a long, long day, and now, with the last guests having left the house, it was finally over, and DiDi was left to confront the rest of her life without her beloved Calvin. Not exactly the way she had imagined herself going into mid-life... but like a lot of other women her age – who, either through death, divorce or “permanent” bachelorette status – this was the life she was left with. And she was determined to make the best of it. Calvin wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I’ll figure it all out tomorrow,” she thought, drifting off to sleep. “Tomorrow is soon enough to begin my ‘new normal’.”
* * *
Mariann Aalda (www.mariannaalda.com) played DiDi Bannister-Stoner on Edge of Night from 1981 to its final episode on December 28, 1985. While she went on to play Grace Battles on Guiding Light and Lena Hart on Sunset Beach on daytime, she also starred in the primetime series The Royal Family as Elizabeth Royal-Winston and First & 10 as Ellen Parker and has recurred or guest-starred on such shows as Designing Women, Grace Under Fire and The Parkers, among others.
In the last several years she has also turned her talents toward stand-up comedy appearing at Caroline’s Comix and Stand-up NY in New York and Ha-Ha’s and The Hollywood Improv in LA. For the last several years, however, most of her creative energies have been devoted to writing, producing and performing in M.O.I.S.T.! the 90-minute sex-istential comedy-with-music celebration of the vibrancy, vitality and viability of “seasoned” woman she co-wrote/produced/performs with Iona Morris (ex Fiona Griffin, As The World Turns).
This is her first installment of Eye on Monticello, which will be published online, weekly. As a tribute to the devoted Edge of Night fans who have built and maintained an online community, this is Mariann’s labor-of-love to fast-forward some of their favorite characters to present time and find out what they might be up to! Plans also include updates on the actors who played those characters...and what they’re up to.
So stay tuned!
TEASER: When DiDi wakes up she’s going to apply for a job at The Monticello Gazette... what better way to keep an eye on Monticello!”