Once upon a time, I stumbled upon the recipe for Alice's famous cake doughnuts. It included sugar, eggs, flour, shortening, and other such baking staples. I seem to remember some vanilla extract in there, too. But it was the last ingredient that I remember the most. And that ingredient summed up Alice Horton perfectly. Her recipe called for "six cups of love."
Sure, there is a certain level of schmaltziness to write "love" as an ingredient, but I think Alice knew what she was talking about. After all, nearly everyone she crossed paths with adored her. From neighbors like the Merritt family back in 1965 to those who returned to say goodbye last week, Alice was as loved as she loved in return.
I first fell in love with Alice Horton when I was a child. My mother has been watching DAYS since the first episode and, when I was born, I guess I inherited her enjoyment of the wacky residents of Salem. Some of my earliest memories include sitting on the floor scribbling in my various He-Man and G.I. Joe coloring books while my mother ironed and watched "the stories." Truth be told, I think my eyes were more glued to the television than my "artwork." Of course, I probably didn't understand much of what was going on back then, but I knew there was something special about the show and its characters. I also knew there was no character more special than Mrs. H.
Alice truly was the heart and soul of Salem. What DAYS fan didn't want her to welcome them into her home or receive an ornament with their name on it? Alice's mere presence was like a warm, comforting hug. It's almost funny now to think that during the very first episode, she worried about having too much ice cream in her freezer since all of her children had left home and weren't around to eat it. As it turned out, Alice wouldn't have to suffer empty-nest syndrome long -- over the next forty-plus years, her home would be constantly filled with family, friends, and, above all, love.
And love really is the message when it comes to Alice. Hope said it best when she described how her grandmother was truly "someone" to aspire to be like. Sure, Alice was a character played by the legendary Frances Reid, but Alice also transcended fiction -- Frances's portrayal made you believe in Alice's unwavering kindness, optimism, and love of life, family, and friends. In fact, Alice's ideals were as simple as they were brilliant -- love, laugh, and cherish those around you. That certainly seems like a mantra we should all aim for.
Sadly, DAYS fans began to bid their final farewells to Alice last week, along with the stream of family and friends who gathered to say goodbye. It was amazing to see so many great characters all together. From the current cast, to those returning, and to newer faces who never even shared a scene with Alice, the naturalness of how everyone meshed was perfect. They were all there for a reason, and that reason was Alice.
As a person who has lost two very dear grandmothers, I appreciated the writers' work on this storyline. It was sensitive and poignant. I think they did an incredible job of capturing all the sad, helpless feelings that come along with such a heartbreaking loss while at the same time remembering the joy that person brought into the lives of those they touched. Even small details, like Jennifer and Hope's conversation about Alice's "Best Grandma" mugs, Laura and Marie talking about her love of flowers, and Lucas simply walking around absorbing the quietness of Alice's living room, knowing it will never be the same, were touches that I felt made those scenes touching and quite realistic.
In the spirit of DAYS last week, several members of the soapcentral.com "family" came together to share their memories of Frances and Alice. Of course, be sure to share your own thoughts and feeling on the soapcentral.com message boards. As many of Alice's loved ones agreed last week, she may be gone, but she will never be forgotten.
My first memories of Days of our Lives are probably not what most people will think. Though I've become known for my work in creating soapcentral.com - Days of our Lives used to be my enemy number one. It interfered with all the shows I wanted to watch when I was younger. You know, Scooby Doo, Tom and Jerry, and Card Sharks. Despite that, there was always something magical about Frances Reid.
It wasn't until I was older and lost several of my grandparents that I realized what it was. Frances Reid's Alice was everyone's grandmother. Quick with some comforting words, learned advice, or a lecture if needed -- and, of course, a tasty doughnut to help it all go down a little easier. Unfortunately, all too often we don't truly appreciate things until they're gone. How do you begin to thank someone who has provided hundreds of hours of enjoyment to so many people? I think that Ken Corday has done an amazing job with the tribute to Frances Reid and Alice, and that has allowed fans to pay their respects in a proper and respectful way.
-- Dan J Kroll, soapcentral.com Founder
I am a long-time soapcentral.com alumnus and write the weekly summaries for DAYS. I have been a fan of the show for many years, and met a number of the cast members along the way. As a viewer, one of my fondest memories of Frances (Alice) will always be the Christmas episodes in the Horton living room as she watched each family member hang their ornaments on the tree. I own a reproduction of the original "Alice" ornament that I hang on my Christmas tree every year. Around 10-15 years ago, you could purchase replica ornaments, and I am happy that I have my ornament as a memento to the show and to the wonderful Frances Reid. I also enjoyed the episodes where Frances teamed up with Peter as (Bo and Alice) joined forces to crack a number of cases for the Salem PD.
I recall at one of the fan outings, Drake Hogestyn, and (I believe) Peter Reckell told the crowd a few anecdotes about Frances. They said that she had a great sense of humor and was quite different from the sweet "gran" character she portrayed on the show. Apparently, she was quite outspoken and would often ad lib through her scripts and occasionally let loose with some "off color" comments that would break up everyone on the set!
-- Diane P, Days Of Our Lives Weekly Summary writer
Whereas I'll always love Alice's banter with the Brady boys, Bo and Roman, and her time with Hope, Jennifer, and Melissa, one of my favorite memories of Alice is one of her last appearances. During the very first Golden Donut awards in 2007, I actually picked it as the "Best Surprise." And I guess with all of the flashbacks and memories being shared, it's only appropriate to take a look back at my selection. It's also a little ironic, as it was nearly three years ago to the day.
"Best Surprise (Tony): Alice at the Brady-Horton 4th of July picnic! She holds such a special place in my heart and I can't think of a better surprise dealt by Days this year. I loved the feisty way she joked with Jeremy ... "well, you remind me of my great-grandson, but he never comes to see me." Such a grandma thing to say! Or, her response to Maggie's concerns, "I'm alright. I'm nearly perfect." And she's right!"
If Alice was the heart and soul of Salem, it was because of Frances Reid. Her portrayal has touched the hearts of every DAYS fan since 1965. And I suspect that we'll all smile when we look back and think of her. So, thank you, Frances, thank you for so many beautiful memories.
LINE OF THE WEEK:
Alice: "And as long as this family gathers to touch, and share, and laugh, and remember. And as long as our hearts and arms are open to new friends, new loves; then we have everything a human being can hope for in this life. Everything. And it never ends."
So, friends and DAYS fans, that's Two Scoops for the week of June 28th. I'd like to wish Taylor Spreitler the best of luck in all of her future endeavors and thank her for her tenure as Mia. I'll be back next week with fewer tears and more cheers and jeers as we discuss Chloe's pregnancy, Kimberly and Shane's reunion, and what comes next for the Horton family. And as Alice would say, "Until we meet again."