When I was on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, back in the early 90s, I was, even then still homesick for Alabama. Oh, don't get me wrong, I was ecstatic too. I was doing exactly what I came to LA to do. I wanted to be on a soap opera. It was the Goal. The Dream. It was a place I could be a psychopathic murderer and NOT even mess up my nails! No matter what I played, glamour was a big part of wanting to be on a soap. It's the Southern girl in me. All the beauty pageants! All that glamour is very important, you know. I loved sitting in the make-up chair, loved being on set with Deirdra Hall and just loved the entire experience of being on the NBC lot everyday in Burbank.
So, seven months into my dream coming true, I found out I was pregnant. We had been married seven years and having a baby was not , so far, easy for us. I never loved LA anyway. Time for a trip home. I was always looking for a new reason to get to Bama! WHAT? Leave the Soap?? My husband said. There was no way I was having that baby out Here! What in the world would I do THAT for? NO! Brooks would be born in Alabama. And THAT WAS THAT! It had never occurred to me that a baby of mine would make their grand entrance anywhere else! My husband thought the crazy pregnancy hormones had kicked in. "Beth we are at UCLA medical center...we have the best doctors in the world at our fingertips!" I was having no part of THAT! THEY weren't in ALABAMA! I had always said, "When I finally get pregnant, I am leaving here and going home to have my baby." I guess he never really believed I would do it. Especially NOW, since I had finally gotten my Soap Opera. But DAYS OF OUR LIVES had nothin' on this! This was me having my first baby, and what turned out to be my only baby. I was just like any other pregnant Southern girl, I wanted my Mama! And I was going home to Alabama, come hell or high water! I found out I was pregnant September, 15th 1992. I shot my last episode of "Days" in late October. I wanted the entire pregnancy experience with the baby showers and everything to be in Tuscaloosa. It was the biggest event of my life next to my wedding...DAYS was a distant third to my real life! So I wanted to share it with my friends and family. This move home was growing right along with my burgeoning tummy. It was occurring to me that I needed a place to stay. Six or seven months is too long as a visitor. Even in the hospitality driven deep South. It began to look like we would actually need to MOVE...like with lots of stuff. Ted tried to talk me out of this daily, as did my agent who was finally making money off me. But it all fell on deaf ears as visions of the BAMA campus, Denney Chimes, Taco Casa, Dream Land BBQ, my grandmothers screened in porch, and my sister-in-laws fried green tomatoes danced in my head daily. I was in a Tuscaloosa trance. And it WAS football season. Yes, HOME. I began to pack!
We loaded TWO cars, cause like a true Belle, I had OVERPACKED. Even pregnant, a girl needs her all her sparkly shoes! Subconsciously, I may have been planning on staying....but only subconsciously...ahem. This meant I would have to drive myself, Ted in the other car, all the way 2020 miles, from Burbank to Tuscaloosa, four days, across the country. NO PROBLEM! I am going HOME to have my baby! Nothing could stop this stubborn, oops, freudian slip, ahem, "Southern" Belle!
I just didn't count on the extreme morning sickness to kick in...right around Palm Springs. Only an hour and half out of LA and I had to stop...and stop...and stop. I kept a steady supply of Saltines, sometimes just licking the salt off them. It was like crawling across the desert, on my knees, dying of thirst...
C-R-A-W-L-I-N-G....with sweet visions of City Cafe and the Warrior River in my head. Boy, Tuscaloosa sure does have a lot of FOOD attraction for me! The four days we had planned for, slowly, painfully, turned into six. One day, my Yankee husband said, Why do we have to have the baby in Tuscaloosa? Can't you just get OVER the fact that your from Alabama?" WHAT DID YOU SAY??? If I had not been pregnant, homesick and stuck literally in the deserts of West Texas THAT would have been the DEAL BREAKER! Don't worry, when I got myself together I let him have it over that one! I got back in my car with my cats and kept pushing towards the Bama line. And like all Southern Belles, when I finally got to Tuscaloosa, I collapsed into my mama's arms and cried my eyes out. No not from the exhaustion, or the perpetual morning sickness, or six grueling days on the road, but because MY HUSBAND SAID,"CAN'T YOU JUST GET OVER THAT YOU'RE FROM ALABAMA?" I asked my mother to find me a lawyer...IMMEDIATELY! OK, well, I calmed down a few WEEKS later. It took me a while to get over that one.
The love of my life, my sweet son Brooks was born April 10th, 1993, nearly seven weeks early, weighing over 9 pounds!! I know. He was seriously the largest "Preemie" on record that year! According to our insurance company. Maybe ever! I had major complications, diabetes, a stroke, and was in DCH Northport for three weeks. BUT...Brooks had been BORN IN ALABAMA! That year Easter fell just one hour and 4 minutes after his arrival, and after a lengthy surgery, and more complications, I was wheeled back to my room at 1:30 am Easter morning. And the waiting room was filled. About 15 or 20 people were waiting for me; friends from high school, family, a huge support system. Even my mom's friends from HER high school days were all there. THAT'S why I drove my pregnant self all the way HOME to Tuscaloosa to have my baby. The people. And that's what makes it home! That and a little Dream Land BBQ!