This past two weeks has once again seen the end of an era on the soap that I have been watching for forty two years. The first was a while back when the character Mike Baldwin passed away, this week it was Vera Duckworth, wife to Jack Duckworth who passed away. The actress Elizabeth Dawn who played Vera is retiring due to health problems. The “Duckys” as they were affectionately known first showed up on the street in 1974, 34 years ago. Vera started in Mark Britain’s factory as a packer and soon moved on to Mike Baldwin’s factory as a machinist. Jack showed up a bit later at Gail’s wedding to Brian Tilsley. Jack and Vera were one of the all time great pairings on Corrie with incredible comedic moments such as the Vince StClair dating episodes, Jack on the church tower in a Santa suit and Jack trotting down the stairs of a hotel dropping one shoe, Cinderella style. Vera was forever chasing him, berating Jack for his racing bets, pigeons, bad back and lack of laundry skills. Together they made some of the best comedy, most dramatic and thoroughly entertaining Corrie episodes. Vera will be missed by all, remembered for a long time as one of the favorites, one of the iconical characters that has made Corrie what it is. Few other characters can claim as long a run as Vera on Corrie, there is Jack, Emily, Rita, Gail, Audry, Betty and of course Ken Barlow (who has been on continuously since episode 1). Corrie has been aired continuously since 1960, in Canada since 1962 (I believe) and I have been watching it since 1966. No other show to my knowledge can match that.
However as momentous as the passing of Vera was, a much more important event happened this past week in the United States. This country which has for all of my life been known as the country which fought a war over slavery, suffered incredible race riots in the sixties, practically invented segregation has elected a black African American president from Chicago. That is absolutely fantastic! Granted the alternative candidate (and his running mate Sarah Palin) would have been a disaster waiting to happen, that can not take away from the achievements of Barack Obama. In my eyes Barack was without doubt the best candidate and arguably the best candidate to come along in many many years. Through out his campaign he did not stoop to the mud slinging and dirty tricks of his opponents, didn’t draw on the race card, didn’t forget who it was that was going to vote him in, the people of America. He talked to the people, made sensible promises, won the respect of the American public, even the white working class in Ohio. Amazing. For the first time I can remember I can say that I applaud the Americans, my respect for them has gone up measurably, I really believe they have made the right choice. Now I wait to see if he can live up to the hope and promise placed in his election. In any event the world is now a much different place than it was two weeks ago. When I was in high school, if some one had suggested there would be a black president in my lifetime, I would have died laughing, not a chance I would have said. Just 40 years later it has happened, The US now has a black president elect, Fantastic! A new era is dawning, let’s hope we all make the very best of it.