Seasons Greetings to everyone and a very Happy New Year’s! It is now 2006 and I hope it started with a BIG BANG for everyone. I know that this entry comes after the fact but this is not just a happy holidays “I hope everyone is in good spirits” wish but one that is meant for everyday of the year. I am sure that this entry will be a bit sentimental so I hope that you’ll bear with me as I will not just be talking about my holiday break but another departure from the “Guiding Light” family that really hits close to my heart.
My time off started on the twenty-second of December, catching an early evening flight home and getting picked up at the airport by my mom whom I was very happy to see. Yes, at twenty-four years of age, I can say that I don’t mind hanging with the folks and spending time catching them up on the adventures and goings-on in their son’s life. Don’t get me wrong now, I do also enjoy going out with my friends from back home and grabbing a bite to eat or a drink too, but my family and I are very close and I do miss them, I just don’t always talk about it, LOL!
After doing some last minute Christmas shopping, I was given a little holiday surprise by two of my good friends (one a childhood friend and the other my fraternity brother): one had a little baby girl and the other was expecting a child with his wife! Congrats E.I. and J.G., I am so happy for you guys, but why are ya’ll always showing off! All kidding aside, I truly am very happy for them, but it is a wake-up call that this is the age when men and woman start to think about families and their personal futures. I believe that one day I will be ready for that, but right now there are just so many things to experience and so many places that I have yet to see, you know? Being a dad is a wonderful gift but being able to provide the type of life that helps a child excel and hopefully exceed your expectations is a position I am just not in right now. For everyone this is a different viewpoint, but for me I am more nervous than excited by that.
WOW, I think I just got really off topic there so let’s just move right along. My girlfriend came up from her home in Richmond to spend Christmas Eve and Day with my family, which was so much fun, before both she and I then headed back down to her home to do the same with her family. I think that this year I went a bit heavy on the spending towards gifts. It wasn’t that I felt that gifts were the most important part of the Holiday, it’s just that I kept finding things that I thought certain people might really like and before I knew it, I was missing quite a few “zero’s” from my bank account. I guess I will just have to work extra hard in 06’ to earn them back, LOL!
Before leaving to come back home to New York I had to get in some horseback riding with the new riding shoes I received from my girlfriend’s family. They worked so well, but they alone won’t keep your butt in the saddle, guess I still have much to learn ;p
No, I really am feeling more comfortable on horseback and am even getting better about riding bareback (that means without a saddle and not meaning without pants for those who aren’t aware)!!!
Once we returned to New York, it was time to plan for New Year’s. For those of you who haven’t been to New York before or maybe just don’t know the extreme price inflation over the holidays for entertainment, I will illuminate this horrific reality for you. To go to a nightclub for JUST finger foods and open bar access for about four hours will cost you roughly $75-175 per person and a pre-fixed dinner at a nice restaurant will run you about $150-300 per person. That tends to add up very quickly and coming only a week after Christmas, was a bit of an overkill for us. Sarah had some friends coming up to visit so we surprised them with a decorated apartment filled with banners, table cloth settings, hanging “NEW YEARS EVE” decorations and party poppers!
There was an abundance of wine and appetizers that we both made and set out, and soft music playing for entertainment. Her friends (who stayed with us) were absolutely shocked and touched for so much thought. We then went right around the corner to a French Bistro for a very mouth-watering and palate-pleasing meal before getting back to the apartment just in time for the clock to hit midnight.
We toasted in the New Year with a bottle of champagne and strawberrys and watched the fireworks display being shot off in Central Park. It was a really great way to start off 2006. I have to say that seeing Sarah’s friend’s faces and hearing their excitement about the wonderful weekend was reward enough for me. By this time though, I was very excited to get back into the swing of things at work, but there was a dark spot for all of us. Someone was going to be missing from the studio and so when Friday the sixth of January came (my first day back), I was of mixed emotions.
This is very hard for me to type and I have to apologize because I am actually getting a little teary-eyed thinking about this next part. Crystal Hunt (Lizzie) as many of you now know, will not be returning to the “Guiding Light” in 2006. Though her episodes will run through January and into February, her contract was up in December and she chose to pursue that dream that all actors on a Daytime show have and that is to move on to other avenues of work in either Primetime Television or the Movie Industry.
This was not an easy choice for Crystal to make, but she made the decision on what she felt was best for her, and that’s exactly what she and every other actor who either is or was or will be on a daytime soap needs to do.
Now I know that the magazines may have said something to the effect that “Crystal Hunt walks off set at GL” but that was truly not the case. Crystal was an extremely outgoing and vivacious young woman with tons of energy and a flair for just telling it like it is. I remember first meeting her back in the summer of 2004 when I first started and I thought, HOLY $*%@, I have to work with her, I can’t stand her! Yes, I will admit that her personality was bit much to take but that was only because I wasn’t used to her personality yet, I hadn’t given her a chance yet to show me the kind of individual she really was and is. We all make initial assumptions of others and most of the time they are NOT RIGHT, admit it!
Fortunately for me, our stories became involved and I was given or rather forced to interact with her and that’s when everything became much clearer to me about who she was and how Crystal ticked. I can’t give everything about Crystal out in one entry and I’m not going to try because some of who she is are memories that I really don’t want to share. I say that not to be selfish but we all have bits and pieces of others inside who help make us who are as people. Crystal helped me make the transition of going from a struggling actor in New York to realizing what being on a Daytime show would be like. She helped me get through my first fan weekend and bought me an alarm clock when I was late to work for the second time, LOL. I crashed at her apartment on the couch quite a few times when I didn’t want to travel back to Brooklyn last winter, no questions asked. She would give and give and if she couldn’t, Crystal would find the right person who could help out and give. I know that there has been mixed gossip about her as a person and an actress on some GL message boards. I know that people are entitled to their own opinions and I am not trying to sway that or trying to make people change them, but I will say that if you would trade places with any person who has as rigorous a schedule of not just filming but promotion, studying, keeping a certain image physically, starting their own company and trying to stay healthy while traveling every week, and tired from being constantly put under the public’s microscope where every action you do might end up in the soap magazines, you may not be in the best spirits or most talkative mood either.
I am certainly not trying to get off topic here about Crystal and her career on “Guiding Light”; I am simply just saying that I worked with her in person and feel that I know her pretty well to make a statement such as this, that’s all. Anyway, to get back on track, her last day of filming was December twenty-second. As soon as I finished for the day and returned my garments to wardrobe, I headed up to the production office to check my mailbox and wish everyone a happy holiday before heading to the airport. Crystal walked in and did the same then disappeared into one of the producer’s offices for a bit. I thought nothing of it. Later, we stood there in a strong embrace for the longest minute, tears welling up in both our eyes. The person whom I was so close and intimate with on the screen, my first on screen love was leaving and there was nothing else to do. Maybe I am making too much out of this and yes, the part has been re-cast and there will be another Lizzie Spaulding BUT, it won’t be Crystal Hunt. As Crystal said her goodbyes to everyone, she and Scott Bailey walked out together, as I had gotten caught up grabbing my things. As I got to the elevator the door shut and I impatiently waited for another hoping that I didn’t miss her and Scott before they jumped into a cab. I ran to the foyer of the CBS building and she was no where to be seen, so I proceeded out the door and saw them up the block. There I am dragging my luggage and trying to half run/walk to catch up to see her off, I must have looked like the biggest idiot! I finally caught up with them as they were getting in the cab and wished them both a safe and fun holiday and watched as the cab drove off. I assure you that Crystal will always have a place in all of our hearts as I hope she will in all of yours.
Alright, wow that was tough! The new Lizzie Spaulding started yesterday, January 6, 2006 and I will tell you that the character is in good hands. The new actress will bring something new to the character and with time will settle into her own style but she, like we all did and do, needs time and a little support. You won’t be disappointed, I promise! And just a little side note here, her first day on set just happened to be a day that Coop had to be half naked in bed, LOL!
If you have any Lizzie stories or memorable meetings with Crystal, I would love to hear about them!
All my love to you and all my warmest thoughts too. Let’s have an awesome 2006 at the Light!