There was once a little girl named Jennifer Rose. Her mother put her on a bus and forgot about her, but the rest of her family never did. Despite her mother’s mental illness, this beloved “Days of Our Lives” character grew up to be a spunky teenager, a determined young journalist, and a later a grown woman with a fun-loving spirit and a generous heart.
She loved and she loved hard. Her teenage romances with Glen Gallagher (Rob Estes) and Frankie Brady (Billy Warlock) came and went, but the love she shared with Jack Deveraux Matthew Ashford) never died. Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) had to be the solid and sensible one in their relationship, but it was a role she embraced in earnest as Jack rarely gave her a dull moment. He kidnapped her on a fire truck from one wedding that was never meant to be, but then gave her a (literal) rodeo wedding of a lifetime she’d never forget.
Through the years, life got in the way, as well as Jack’s penchant for disappearing whenever the going got tough. Of course, he’d always return and Jennifer would always forgive because that was who they were. Jennifer understood Jack, but soon that fun-loving girl grew harder and sadder as she bore all the responsibilities of their marriage, including parenting their children alone much of the time.
Over the last few years, it became apparent that Jennifer was nothing but a shell of who she once was. After Jack finally became the husband she wanted, he died, taking away her dreams and destroying who she was inside. Her professional demeanor, severe hair styles, and hardened exterior covered the pain she felt inside.
While DAYS writing regimes changed multiple times as Jennifer morphed into this unrecognizable character, the scribes who took over last September recognized this character as one ripe for a breakdown–and addiction. We watched in stunned sadness as Jennifer Rose fell deeper into her despair over the last few months, buoyed only by a bottle of pills at the ready.
Today, DAYS reminded us of the girl and young woman who once was as Jack reminded Jennifer of the same. Yes, he was only in her mind, but the mind is a powerful thing. Jennifer dreamed of the Jack only she knew–the one who couldn’t accept himself until she accepted him. Today, we got inside Jennifer’s mind and saw how the little girl placed on the bus turned into the woman feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. We also remembered that deep down inside, she’s still the girl with the quick mind and the quick fingers, who could sit down behind a keyboard, take a blank piece of paper, and let the words flow while she created her own destiny.
Thank-you, “Days of Our Lives” for allowing us to see a character we watched grow for 30 years evolve into someone wholly human, but one who is ready to reclaim her life.
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