Sunday, August 30, 2015

FLASHBACK: 'Another World' The Story of Steven, Rachel & Alice (Part 10)

The cast of Another World.  From left, front row: Ann Wedgeworth,
Charles Baxter, Lisa Cameron, Nancy Wickwire, Judith Barcroft, Jacquie
Courtney, Robin Strasser, Sam Groom. Standing: Jordan Charney, Harry
Bellaver, George Reinholt, Beverly Penberthy, Val Dufour, Micki Grant,
Hugh Marlowe, Virginia Dwyer, Geoffrey Lumb, Michael M. Ryan
and Constance Ford.
ANOTHER WORLD: The Story of Steven, Rachel & Alice

The Soap Box
Vol. IV No. 6 June 1979
by Bryna Laub

(continued from Part 9)

Now the big battle was coming up. Russ had agreed to pay for a divorce and, for appearance's sake, to let Rachel file on grounds of desertion. But that was all--no alimony, no child support. Rachel, of course, wasn't going to let him get off that easily. After all, hadn't she slaved and sacrificed while he was an intern and then a resident? She had been a dutiful wife and she was going to get everything she was entitled to.

Shortly before the hearing Jame became seriously ill and it was entirely due to Russ's skill as a doctor that he survived without serious aftereffects. Brian, ever aware of the points one needs to score in court to win alimony settlements, now advised her to return the trust fund money to the Matthews as a gesture of good will for Russ's efforts. But Rachel adamantly refused. It was her baby's money and she was going to keep it.

At this point Steven stepped in. He notified Rachel that while he was legally bound to the amounts he'd provided for Jamie, unless she returned the Matthews' trust fund, he'd cut her personal allowance to the bone. Only when Brian assured her Steven could do this did Rachel return the Matthews' money with a message of gratitude for Russ's efforts.

Jacqueline Courtney as Alice, Sam Groom as Russ,
and Robin Strasser as Rachel.
The divorce hearing began with Rachel's charming recitation of her trials and tribulations as the neglected wife of an unfeeling young doctor, a story which was quickly refuted by Russ's testimony. To the question of Jamie's parentage Rachel, with Brian's help, painted the picture of a lonely young wife who was virtually driven into another man's arms by her husband's neglect. She sweetly glossed over her deception in passing Steven's son off as Russ's, then threw in that she returned the Matthews' trust as she didn't want anything that wasn't rightfully hers but she did feel she deserved alimony.

Brian and Rachel thought they had it won when John called Steven to the stand. Steven quickly cut through Rachel's distortions by listing how much support she was receiving from him and making it clear that she returned the Matthews' money only when he threatened to cut her income. The judge granted the divorce but, to Rachel's dismay, denied alimony.

During all this time Alice was in France, working at an orphanage in Avignon. She wrote to her family, assuring them she was well and happy. In a special letter to Russ she asked if he would be able to accept it if she eventually decided to marry Steven. Russ showed the letter to Steven and it was all the impetus he needed. He was on the next plane to France and a few hours later was with Alice. She was delighted to see him but made it clear she had yet sorted out only part of the conflict. She was finding a new kind of independence and a sense of identity being away on her own and had to proceed at her own pace. Steven hated to leave her but flew home with a new sense of hope for their future together.

Another World star Robin Strasser, who played Rachel
Davis Matthews, with Susan Sullivan, who replaced
Judith Barcroft as Lenore Moore Curtin.
He now threw himself into a new project, one which made his friends uneasy as they felt he was committed to a definite dream and, with all his hopes in one basket, he stood to be badly hurt if it didn't work out. Steve was building Alice's dream house in the country. He bought a lovely wooded tract of land that corresponded to the description she'd woven in the hospital and drew from a very vivid memory of those shared daydreams a complete description of the house as she'd visualized it. His architect translated the word pictures into plans and scale elevations and, over the months, Alice's House moved toward completion.

Alice came back to Bay City for a surprise vacation that summer. Steven was overjoyed to have her back, if only for a few days, and they spent most of the time together. A bad moment came when they ran into Rachel and Jamie, and Rachel triumphantly tried to rub Alice's nose in the fact of her son. Seeing Rachel's delight in telling the child to "go to Daddy", Steven was furious but Alice maintained her composure. When they finally got away from the proud mother Alice told Steven it had to happen and it would happen again. If she couldn't live it, they had no hope at all.

Steven didn't show Alice his surprise on this brief visit. The house wasn't ready and, he realized, neither was Alice just yet. In her letters after her return to France both Steven and her family could see that this year had been very important to Alice. She had learned some very significant things about herself and most important, she had discovered she could rely upon herself. She was no longer a child who needed to run home when things went wrong. She was, she had found, a woman who had a lot to give to her patients and to herself. She knew, as they knew, that her healing was almost complete.

Continue reading Part 1 of a very detailed flashback series, Another World - The Story of Steven, Rachel & Alice...

- FLASHBACK: George Reinholt, Soap Idol 1971
- INTERVIEW: Robin Strasser Reflects On Constance Ford

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