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1976
01/01/76

Laura Vining enjoyed staying with her new family, but the youngster wasn't sure that she wanted to make her stay a permanent one. She missed her friends, her parents, and most of all, her younger sister, Amy. At Laura's request the judge extended the temporary situation for another thirty days at which point a decision as to Laura's future would have to be made.

When Laura fell ill, Lesley turned to Dr. Peter Taylor for counsel and affirmation that the agony the child was going through could be emotionally based. He concurred that it could, but Peter couldn't tell Lesley what to do. It was a decision she had to make for herself. Lesley made the painful decision to cancel the custody suit and return Laura to Jason and Barbara Vining. Her husband Cameron, secretly triumphant that Laura was out of his life for good, dedicated himself to healing Lesley's hurt. Despite his efforts to help her overcome her grief, Lesley Faulkner remained obsessed with her daughter. Behind Lesley's back, Cameron began spending more time at the mountain retreat he bought for Lesley -- and ever more time in New York with his sexy secretary, Peggy.

To keep Laura out of his life for good, Cameron concocted a scheme in which an elderly nurse claimed that Laura was not Lesley's daughter after all. The scheme failed when Lesley accused the woman of lying, then sent her away. Cameron's scheme had been thwarted! Unbeknownst to Lesley, Cameron then paid the Vinings to take Laura far away.

In the grueling weeks after Laura's disappearance, Cameron urged Lesley to get on with her life. But Lesley was determined to never give up Laura. Later, Lesley discovered the depth of her husband's malevolence. When he kidnaped her, Lesley lunged for the wheel of the car, which careened off the road! Cameron was dead! In the days after the tragedy, Lesley learned another shocking secret about her husband -- he died broke, his empire having crumbled beneath him in the weeks before his death. Her fellow staff member, Dr. Rick Webber helped her through the troubled times.

In 1976, several new characters were introduced to General Hospital. Among them was Terri Arnett, whose husband David, a doctor, had been killed in Vietnam. Terri was the daughter of Steve Hardy's closest friend, the late Dr. Lars Webber. Once an aspiring singer in New York, Terri returned home when Lars Webber and his wife Helen were killed in an accident to play surrogate mother to her two younger brothers, Rick and Jeff. Rick, a promising resident at General Hospital, volunteered for a six-month medical stint in Africa. Two months after his arrival, he was reportedly killed when the small plane in which he was being piloted to a remote village crashed and burned. Rick's dashingly handsome younger brother, Jeff, graduated from med school in the spring of 1976 along with his wife, Monica, who had once been Rick's fiancee. Dr. Steve Hardy tapped the young married doctors for a bold new experimental program at General Hospital -- Mr. and Mrs. Intern!

For Steve Hardy, the Mr. and Mrs. Intern experiment was a noble gamble. He believed that Jeff and Monica were a perfect choice. Six months into their marriage, he assumed they were ideally happy. He was wrong! Their new marriage was a wreck! Jeff had a hang up -- he feared that everyone at General Hospital was comparing him to his "late" brother Rick. Fearing he would always be "second best," Jeff's every thought was plagued by memories of his dead brother. Jeff missed Rick dearly -- and so did Monica. More than anyone -- even Jeff -- knew.

Rick Webber was very much alive and being held, against his will, having been captured ten months earlier by revolutionaries in an African civil war. Upon his long-awaited return to General Hospital, Rick was reunited with Steve Hardy who sensed that Rick was haunted by something. Was it, as Steve suspected, the months of imprisonment that troubled Rick? Or was he, as Terri believed, deeply troubled by the fact that Monica had married Jeff?

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