FLASHBACK: Mother Daughter Relationships - An "Imitation of Life" on Daytime TV (Part 3)

Gwen Parrish (Dorothy Lyman) clashed frequently with her mother,
Leueen, on Another World.
Mother Daughter Relationships: An "Imitation of Life" on Daytime TV

The Soap Box
Vol. IV No. 1 January 1979

(continued from Part 2)

When dowager Leueen Parrish came to Bay City last year to prepare for her daughter Gwen's wedding to Dr. Russ Matthews, her reputation already preceded her. Gwen may come across strong, outspoken and confident, but she virtually crumbled under her mother's brand of "TLC." Their personality differences went back a long way, and everything Leueen said or did sent Gwen into a rage—particularly when Leueen set out to prove that although Russ was a fine man, he'd be the wrong husband for Gwen.

Leueen was right about that; she was the first to realize, too, that Gwen and her co-worker, Willis Frame, were really better suited. Gwen was relieved when her mother left Bay City for an extended vacation, unable to return in time for her wedding. Since Leueen's return, though, Gwen has been unable to co-exist with what she views as her mother's interference. Leueen sees it simply as "trying to make Gwen happy."

Thus far, Leueen has caused the newlyweds to clash on when to start a family; where to live; and finally, on her offer to be the financial backer so Willis could start his own construction firm. Gwen was so opposed to that idea—fearful that Willis' past ruthlessness would resurface—that she begged her mother not to set up the business. Her mother refused to pull out and Gwen walked out on Willis. It's hard to understand exactly what Gwen fears most: she's warned her mother about Willis' past, all the while alerting him to watch out for her sly and cunning mother.

Perhaps Leueen and Gwen are the kind of mother and daughter columnist Liz Smith talks about in "The Mother Book": "Mothers and daughters," says Smith, "are not only allies, they are natural enemies. They are at odds for the attention of the men in their families, just as women are often at odds for the attention of men anywhere..."

A similar type of high-powered interference is stock-in-trade of Leueen's friend, Liz Matthews.

Years ago, Liz alienated her daughter-in-law, Missy. If she's not careful, she'll do the same thing now to her own daughter, Susan, who—separated from her husband—recently came back to live in Bay City. Liz, too, claims that she means well—and often she does—but her gossiping and unasked-for advice and meddling make people doubtful.

More homespun interference comes from Rose Perrini. When daughter, Angie, and her husband, Vince Frame, moved into Rose's house after they married, interference was more or less inevitable. In fact, it was Rose who happened to cause the argument that led to their recent separation: While changing the linens in their bedroom (something Angie should probably have been doing), Rose found a container of birth control pills that had fallen out of a pillowcase. She gave them to Vince, believing the pills belonged to him. Since Angie never told Vince that she was taking the pill—and he believed they were both trying to start a family—a lethal blow was dealt to their already shaky marriage. Rose still goes behind Angie's back, trying to pull some strings and smooth things over. While Angie does occasionally object to her mother's meddling, theirs is basically a warm, reciprocal relationship, much like the way Love of Life's Arlene Slater and her mother manage to get along despite their differences.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Stay tuned for the final part of Mother Daughter Relationships: An "Imitation of Life" on Daytime TV.

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