|Mary Stuart as Meta Bauer|
|Portrayed by:||Gloria Blondell (1948) |
Dorothy Lovett (1948-1949)
Jone Allison (1949-1952)
Ellen Demming (1953-1966 & 1971-1974)
Mary Stuart (1996-2002)
|Duration:||1948-1952, 1953-1966, 1971-1974 & 1996-2002|
|First appearance:||June 1948|
|Last appearance:||January 29, 2002|
|Created by:||Irna Phillips|
|Cause of death:||Natural causes|
|Residence:||New York, New York|
Meta Bauer (formerly White, Roberts & Banning) was a fictional character on the CBS daytime soap opera Guiding Light.
- Gloria Blondell (06/1948-09/1948)
- Dorothy Lovett (09/1948-08/1949)
- Jone Allison (09/1949-11/1952)
- Ellen Demming (01/1953-06/1966 & 05/1971-11/1974)
- Mary Stuart (11/1996-01/2002)
Meta Bauer learned very early in life that certain actions could have very serious consequences. Leaving her home in Selby Flats, California, at a young age to get away from her father and his old world values, in 1948, Meta returned to town using the name Jan Carter and began staying with Dr. Mary Leland. However, unbeknownst to Meta, Mary had a very special patient, Meta's mother! Though Papa had destroyed all pictures of Meta and forbade the family to ever mention her name, he was pained to see how much his sick wife missed Meta. Papa told his family that he regretted driving his eldest child away. It was now his fondest wish to find Meta and bring her home before Mama died-- not knowing that Meta was already in town. Meta kept her secret until she found herself in a sad predicament -- she was pregnant by Ted White, a man she had used because of his wealth and connections but did not love. Meta confided in Rev. Dr. Charles Matthews, the pastor at the Church of the Good Samaritan, and sought refuge at a convent in New York, where she gave birth to a baby boy whom Dr. Matthews and Dr. Leland arranged to be adopted by Charlotte and Ray Brandon. Unaware of the identities of their child's biological parents, the Brandons named their son Charles (Chuckie), after Dr. Matthews, and looked forward to a happy life, but the new family was doomed from the start. Meta tearfully returned to the family fold on Mama and Papa's silver wedding anniversary and eventually told them her painful story. She also told Ted in hopes that they would marry and get Chuckie back. Ted had no use for Meta, so, in 1949, Meta and Ted each filed separate custody suits against the Brandons. Identifying with Meta, Charlotte came to believe that Chuckie would be better off with his natural mother.
The court awarded the boy to Meta, leaving Ted to formulate a secret plan: He would marry Meta, prove her to be an unfit mother and get the boy all to himself. At this time, however, Meta and Ross Boling were beginning to have feelings for one another, leaving Trudy to bitterly resent her sister's return. However, Meta succumbed to family pressure to marry for Chuckie's sake, and she and Ted tied the knot in Las Vegas in February 1950. Unfortunately the marriage was a disaster. Ted raised Chuckie like a little adult, stoic and unemotional, just as Ted had been raised by his divorced father. Over Meta's objections, Ted hired a strict governess for the sensitive boy and forbade any mention of religion in their home. Unable to stand Ted's tyranny, and his drunken tirades, Meta left him and initiated a custody battle for Chuckie. Thanks to Ray Brandon's reluctant but adept legal representation, Meta won primary custody, and Ted had the boy on weekends. Unfortunately, Ted continued to influence Chuckie, insisting he take boxing lessons so that he could learn to "be a man." Chuckie was only of kindergarten age at the time. One day, when little Chuckie was practicing in a boxing ring, he fell over the ropes and hit his head. The boy lay in a coma for weeks before he tragically died. Overcome by grief and hatred, Meta went to Ted's home and shot him dead!￼
Then for four hours, after the shooting, Meta just disappeared. Later that evening Meta suddenly showed up at her father's house, and despite some protest from Bert and mild words of protest from Trudy, Papa agreed to take his visibly shaken daughter in. The next morning everyone in the Bauer home would be shocked when a Sgt. Jeffries from the L.A. County sheriff's office came to arrest her. Papa and Bill tried to stop Sgt. Jeffries from doing so, but when Sgt. Jeffries told them there was clear evidence that Meta shot Ted dead, Papa and Bill were resigned to the fact that Meta had to go with Sgt. Jeffries. When Meta had also told Papa and Bill that she had indeed killed Ted, everyone was doubly shocked. Surprisingly for Meta, instead of taking her to jail, Sgt. Jeffries took Meta to a prison hospital when she couldn't remember where she was for the four hours after she had killed Ted. Later that same week, L.A. District Attorney Richard Hanley led Meta on a quest to relive the missing four hours, not fully believing Meta's temporary amnesia. Meta herself didn't trust Hanley, because it was obvious that Hanley was out for blood in prosecuting Meta for the murder of her ex-husband. Of course Meta remembered nothing during her outing with Hanley. Meanwhile Bill had contacted old family friend and attorney Ray Brandon (who was also still grieving the death of Chuckie as was his wife, Charlotte). At first Ray was reluctant to defend Meta, but Charlotte urgently persuaded him to do so.￼
Meanwhile, another psychiatrist, Dr. Hewitt, strongly recommended to Ray that Meta be administered sodium pentathol to recover the four missing hours after she killed Ted but Meta refused to be administered the drug, nervous that she would end up making false statements that would convict her. When he learned this, Hanley was able to convince the court that Meta had to be put in prison in general, instead of a prison hospital, until the trial. The Bauers, the Brandons and a new man to enter Meta's life, all argued against Hanley doing this, but their pleas fell on the deaf ears of the court and Meta was put in a prison cell. This new man in Meta's life had been intrigued by all of the newspaper stories about the pretty murderess and former mother who had killed her ex-husband over the despair of losing her child. This new man, named Joe Roberts, was a hard-nosed reporter for The City Times. Despite pleas from his editor at the Times, Joe Roberts started softening his reports of interviews that he was conducting with Meta. Joe's editor just wanted a juicy exclusive article. However Joe was touched by Meta's love for her child, and decided he'd find a way to get this woman acquitted. It was obvious to Joe's editor that Joe was falling in love with Meta. Later, Joe found a man in Malibu to be a "witness" that he had seen Meta at a bar during the missing four hours. Meanwhile Meta's prison cellmate started acting suspiciously. The Bauers and Charlotte Brandon became concerned when it became evident that Meta was looking physically ill while in prison. Around Christmas 1950, Dr. Rev. Keeler finally convinced Meta and Joe about the wisdom of the sodium pentathol treatment to recover the missing four hours. Unfortunately, after Meta was administered the sodium pentathol by Dr. Hewitt, Meta still remembered nothing of those four hours. Meanwhile, Ray found out from a reluctant Trudy that Meta's former boyfriend, Dr. Ross Boling might have some insight into how abusive Ted could become and Ray wanted Ross to testify. Unfortunately just before Ray subpoenaed Ross, Ross skipped town with Meta's good friend Dr. Mary Leland. In the meantime, Joe started planting stories in the Times about the Malibu "witness", which got him into hot water with his boss.￼
As the trial began, on January 9, 1951, it became apparent to Ray and Joe that Hanley was going to seek the death penalty against Meta for the shooting death of Ted White. In San Francisco, Mary Leland read in the paper about the trial and strongly persuaded a reluctant Ross to return to Los Angeles. Hanley's first witness was Marcy Winters who did exactly as she promised and told her stories about how bad a wife and mother Meta had been. Fortunately during cross-examination, Ray got Marcy to admit that she and Ted White had been carrying on an affair before, during and after his marriage to Meta. This new testimony of Ms Winters totally shot down her previous testimony, and Joe told Meta he was now sure that Meta would be found NOT GUILTY. Unfortunately this would not be the immediate case. In a surprising move, Hanley subpoenaed Joe to be a witness for the prosecution. After discussing with Ray and Meta what he should do, both persuaded Joe to go ahead and testify for the prosecution. A reluctant Joe told Hanley he'd testify, but to consider him a hostile witness. Hanley's next three witnesses, Sgt. Jeffries, another psychiatrist who hadn't even examined Meta, a Dr. Irwin and Dr. Williams greatly hurt Meta's case by painting her as a very uncaring person. Meta started doubting herself after these three witnesses, but Papa, Trudy and Joe convinced her that she wasn't as bad as the three witnesses painted her. Even a surprising sympathetic Bert (who would soon learn she was going to be a mother, herself) told Meta she wasn't that bad. Later when Ray cross-examined Dr. Williams, Ray was able to tear to shreds his earlier testimony.￼
Under cross examination, Dr. Williams admitted that it was really impossible to truly judge Meta's mental state after she shot and killed Ted, after she had made an outburst at the prison hospital regarding Chuckie. Next Hanley had Joe put on the witness stand. When Hanley forced Joe to admit that the Malibu "witness" was bogus, not only did it hurt Meta's case it got him fired from The City Times! The next witness on the stand was Ted White's attorney, Robert Rollins, who really hurt Meta's case. Rollins testified that Ted had called Meta a totally unfit mother, and furthermore Rollins finally used Bert Bauer's words of vindictiveness against Meta during the murder trial. (Bert was beside herself after Rollins' testimony and begged for Meta's forgiveness and Meta forgave her sister-in-law since she was more worried at this point that she'd soon be put to death). The second to last prosecution witness was Meta's prison cellmate who testified that Meta went on and on about how Ted had deserved it and that Joe and Meta were lovers. Things looked bleak for Meta. Luckily, on cross-examination (and by recommendation of Joe), Ray was able to get the cellmate to admit she was a spy hired by Hanley and the L.A. police. At this testimony, not only was the judge very unhappy, so was Ray, Joe and Meta, since it appeared that Hanley had been planning to railroad Meta into a death sentence all this time.￼
At this point, Joe's editor rehired him, also angered by Meta's cellmate's testimony and told Joe he hoped that Hanley would lose the case. The final prosecution witness was Ted's father, David White. The elderly David White testified that Meta had clearly never wanted and adamantly refused an agreement of joint custody of Chuckie. When Ray expressed his interest in cross-examining David White, Meta surprised him by telling him not to. Meta could clearly see how in poor health the elderly David White, who used to be her father-in-law, was. The prosecution then rested, and things were looking very bad for the defense. The next morning the defense was set to begin their case. Dr. Ross Boling then showed up in court and told Ray to put him on the stand, first. But Ray had other plans. In a surprising move for Meta, Ray told her he was going to have her brother Bill testify first. Ray told a shocked Meta that he wanted Bill to testify as to the fact that Ted wasn't only abusive to her and Chuckie, but also to Bill and other employees at work. Meta realizing that Bill had started to drink, again, reluctantly told Ray that would be fine -- although she was very unsure how reliable Bill would be. After gone on a bender the previous evening, Bill showed up to court suffering a major hangover. After a brief recess, Ray was able to get Bill to pull himself together because of Meta's life being in jeopardy. When he retook the stand, Ray got Bill to testify about the abuse that Ted was inflicting on not only Meta and Chuckie but also on all of his employees (including himself) at work. Ray then got concerned about how well Bill could handle Hanley's cross-examination. Ray advised Bill to remain as unemotional as possible during Hanley's questioning. Unfortunately, Hanley got rather abusive in his questioning of Bill, and Bill got very angry. Hanley's abusive behavior and Bill's falling apart was enough and was "the straw that broke the camel's back" for the prosecution's case, and the judge had had enough of Hanley's tactics. When the judge warned Hanley against badgering the witness, Bill Bauer, Hanley refused to listen to the judge's warning and that's when the judge having enough declared a mistrial in the case of the state of California vs. Meta Bauer White! Meta was therefore acquitted and on March 15, 1951 was a free woman!
Meta met the love of her life in Joe Roberts. By now, it was obvious to Meta and Joe that they had strong feelings for one another. This did not sit well with Joe's daughter, Kathy. A precocious and manipulative teenager, Kathy intercepted and hid a letter that Meta had sent to Joe. When Joey cornered her into admitting what she'd done, Joe came down hard on his daughter and decided to seize his chance to be happy. He and Meta eloped to Malibu but kept the marriage a secret in hopes that Kathy would eventually accept Meta. The couple split their time between Los Angeles and a rented Malibu beach cottage, using the cover story that Joe was frequently "on assignment." But when Joey came down with rheumatic fever, Joe rushed to the bedside of the son who'd always loved and supported him. To care for Joey during his convalescence, Joe hired a friendly and dedicated young nurse from Cedars Hospital named Peggy Regan. Peggy was an immediate hit with the Roberts children, who hoped that Joe would marry Peggy instead of Meta, Peggy was, indeed, developing a crush on Joe, but she knew she had no future with the older reporter and for a time left Cedars. Not long after, Trudy married Clyde Palmer. Trudy and Clyde set up a house in New York, and Meta stayed with them for a while during Joey's illness. Meta was now feeling like a fifth wheel in Joe's life. Their marriage was still a secret, and she was questioning their decision to elope. While in New York, Meta met Clyde's friend, the successful doctor Bruce Banning. Tired of living a lie with Joe, Meta began to wonder if her future lay with Bruce rather than with a husband who was still tied exclusively to his grown children. In 1952, Meta returned home to Joe and they finally revealed that they were married. It had been Kathy and Joey's wish for Joe to marry Peggy, and now their hopes were dashed forever. Joey was at least civil to Meta, but Kathy was nasty, belligerent and rebellious toward her father and stepmother. Kathy feared that if Meta killed once, she could kill again. Joe sternly warned Kathy to shape up. Meta however, feared she would never fit into Joe's family, and they eventually separated. Meta again went to New York to visit Trudy and Clyde and began seeing Bruce. When Bruce proposed, Meta (at Trudy's urging) realized she belonged to Joe and returned home. Although she intended to keep her return a secret, her father found out about it and informed Joe and the pair reunited. To Joe's delight, Joey embraced Meta wholeheartedly as his new mother, but Kathy refused to budge. Slowly, Kathy started to accept the marriage and even confided in Meta about her secret marriage to Bob Lang and the details surrounding his death. Though Meta tried to talk her into being honest with her new fiancé, Dick, she was unsuccessful.
In 1953, as Kathy's luck would have it, the events she had set into motion began to close in on her. Don Crane, Joe's muckraking colleague at the City Times found a woman's cigarette lighter in Bob's car and suspected he wasn't alone in his fatal accident. Crane traced the lighter to Sid, who had given it to Alice, who in turn had loaned it to Kathy. Investigating the matter further, Crane discovered that Kathy and Bob had secretly married! Crane related this to his and Joe's boss, John (Mac) McIntyre. But when Mac refused to run the story out of loyalty to Joe, Crane angrily defected to a rival tabloid. Mac told Joe, and Joe heard the remainder of the story from Meta. To further complicate matters, Kathy found herself pregnant with Bob's child and led everyone to believe it was Dick's! Kathy was arraigned and the police began hammering her with questions about the crash that killed Bob. Meta knew her family could no longer live in denial, and she convinced Kathy to tell Dick the truth about Bob. Kathy left the door open for Dick to divorce her, but Dick loved her enough to stand by her. At this point, everyone, except Dick and his parents, knew that Kathy's unborn child was Bob's. Laura Grant suspected the truth and despised Kathy for having dragged the precious Grant name through the mud. When Kathy's bail was set at $25,000, Laura adamantly refused Dick's plea to put up the money. It was Meta who paid the bail, using money she had received after Ted's death. Kathy's chances for acquittal looked dim at first, as D.A. Richard Hanley hinged his case on the possibility that she had tampered with Bob's car. However, Joe located a mechanic who admitted he might have left a nut loose when he worked on Bob's brakes earlier. Kathy was cleared of the charges and gave birth to a girl, Robin. She chose that name because the baby was born in the spring, the season of new beginnings. With their problems over, Meta and Joe remained happy. Tragically in 1954, as the case of Judith Weber's murder and the mysterious Dan Peters, was coming to an apex, Joe learned he had cancer. Sadly, Meta would lose him on Christmas Eve 1955. Grieving, it took her some time to get over her loss.￼
After the customary mourning period, in 1956, Meta's sister-in-law, Bert, tried to match Meta up with Mark Holden, a handsome and dynamic structural engineer who had a business relationship with Bill and Richard. Mark was in his early 40s and had never married but was devoted to his younger siblings, Fred and Alice. Mark took a liking to Meta and convinced her to move Joe's favorite chair down to the basement so she could get on with her life. Over the course of a few months, Meta and Mark grew closer and considered marriage, but Meta put him off because she wanted to give Kathy time to adjust to their plans. Mark had not yet met Kathy, who was still traveling, having placed Robin in a school in Switzerland. Mark became angry with Meta over her inordinate concern for her stepdaughter and insisted on being first in Meta's life. Meta, though, still felt guilty for marrying Joe without Kathy's knowledge, and she didn't want to make the same mistake twice. When Kathy returned, Meta introduced her to Mark. Not only did Mark and Kathy get along, but they were instantly attracted to one another! Fate kept throwing them together at every turn, and Meta never suspected that her fiancé and stepdaughter were harboring intense mutual feelings. Finally, Mark and Kathy had to face the fact that they were both considering marriage to people they didn't love. Kathy's fiancé, Dan, realized that Kathy and Mark were in love and bitterly told this to Meta before he left town. Meta was heartbroken; she had lost both her husband and her fiancé. Kathy and Mark became engaged, but Mark soon realized that he'd stepped into a sticky situation when Robin returned from school in Switzerland. A spoiled, belligerent preteen, Robin immediately locked horns with Mark. As the Bauers watched Robin grow up, it was evident that the apple had not fallen far from the tree. Robin manipulated Kathy insufferably with guilt and threats to run away, all in the interest of keeping Mark and Kathy apart.
Mark convinced Kathy to marry him in February 1957, but the new Holden household was a battleground from day one. Robin continued to dictate to Kathy, while Meta constantly coddled Robin and undermined Mark's authority. Then came an occasion truly worth celebrating in the Bauer household: Papa's 65th birthday. Trudy and Clyde surprised him by coming to visit. Afterward, Meta spent some time with Trudy and Clyde at their penthouse apartment in New York, where she was reunited with former admirer Bruce, now a widower. Bruce visited Meta frequently after she returned home and soon proposed marriage, but Meta was not committed -- she still had not gotten over Mark. By this time it was 1958 and soon tragedy struck. While Kathy was outside in her wheelchair, two children on bicycles accidentally knocked her off the sidewalk into heavy traffic. She was killed instantly. Her horrible death brought Meta and Robin even closer together, to the point where Meta took Robin into her home. Certain that Meta would pursue Mark once he got over his grief, Bruce backed off in his courtship of her. He wasn't far off the mark, for Robin, insecure and desperate to have a stable family life, tried to bring Meta and Mark together at every turn. Although he was being pursued by both Meta and Janet, Mark was quite taken with his soft-spoken new housekeeper, Ruth Jannings. Before long, Ruth agreed to see Mark socially, much to the consternation of Meta and Robin, both of whom still harbored delusions of Mark marrying Meta. Bert tried to make Meta and Robin accept Mark and Ruth's romance, but to no avail. Ruth wanted to cool the relationship for Robin's sake, but Mark refused to let Robin call the shots. Ever the suffering diva, in 1959, Robin climbed onto a balcony in the rain and purposely caught pneumonia. Paul placed the blame squarely on Meta for having fed Robin's fantasies about a reconciliation between Meta and Mark. For once, both Bert and Mark agreed with Paul, and the three angrily told Meta to get on with her life. Meta finally came to terms with the fact that Mark would never love her. Later, Mark married Ruth and left a teenaged Robin in Meta's care. Depressed and lonely, Meta accepted Bruce's long-standing marriage proposal and they married in February 1960.
Meta and Bruce remained happy the next few years and would often support her friends and family. Though, sometimes, they wouldn't necessarily see eye-to-eye, especially in concern to the raising and rearing of Robin and her romances. When a scheming Robin married Mike in 1961, it was Meta who instructed a disapproving Bert not to interfere, although, Bruce could see disaster. Bruce was proven right when an angry Karl Jannings lunged after the newlyweds on Meta's patio and hit his head on some patio furniture and soon died of his injuries. In 1962, after Bert got Mike to annul his marriage to Robin, Robin fell for and married the dour 40-year-old entrepreneur Alex Bowden. Robin still continued to lead Mike on by having a few secret, albeit sexless, meetings with him. In his dual role of Robin's guardian and Alex's doctor, Bruce (in spite of Meta's wishes to the contrary) began to sympathize with Alex and helped him to conquer his jealousy. Bruce sternly told Robin to grow up and take responsibility for her life. Later, in 1964, Robin would marry Dr. Paul Fletcher, despite Paul's son Johnny's disapproval of Robin. Paul and Robin returned home and told no one about their marriage except for Meta, Bruce and George Hayes. Meta thought it was wise, but Bruce and George thought the newlyweds should not let Johnny dictate whether to announce their marriage. In 1966, Meta and Bruce moved to New York, where Bruce accepted a prestigious position at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.￼
In 1971, the pair moved to the Midwestern town of Springfield (where Bill, Bert and Papa had relocated) when Bruce was offered a job as Cedars' Chief of Staff and the couple remained happy. After mourning the loss of her father in February 1973, later celebrating the marriage of Mike and Leslie Jackson and warning Bert about the dangers of Ed's new marriage to Holly Norris -- with Bruce being a little more lenient and forgiving of Holly -- the couple left again for New York in 1974. Sometime after this, Meta and Bruce had divorced, because in late 1984, Bert would move in with a now single Meta in Washington D.C. when she became ill. While Meta would recover, Bert died while staying with her in 1986.
Over twenty years since she'd last been in Springfield, Meta returned in November 1996 and took up residence in the Bauer house to take over the household which she found completely changed. Upon arriving, Meta mistook Abby for Michelle as well as Phillip for Rick. Rick was astonished that Meta was in town since she didn't told him she was coming but Meta replied that Ed had invited her ages ago. After Meta finally met Michelle, she was shocked to see that Michelle looked like her cousin Mary Bauer. Michelle wasn't happy about Meta's return since she felt Meta treated her like a child. Rick tried to convince her not to interfere in Michelle's life but Meta replied that she had made a lot of mistakes in her life and she wanted to prevent her great-niece from making the same ones. Meanwhile, Michelle was involved with the mysterious Zachary Smith and when Meta first met him at the Lighthouse, she was shocked to see that he looked like his grandfather. Zach said he never knew his parents or his grandparents while he also avoided Meta's questions about Mary. Meta then remembered about the Zachary she had known decades ago: Zach had worked on the town bell tower and was in love with Mary. One day, a young Meta witnessed a conversation between Zach and Mary in which Zach told her that "he" has to marry her. Mary replied that "he" would never marry her and that she would be so ashamed. Mary left and young Meta came up to Zach and asked him what was wrong with Mary. In the present, Meta now told Zach that she remembered her other Zach gave Mary a silver bracelet and she wondered what happened to it. Unfortunately, in January 1997, Zachary suddenly disappeared after he was caught by a storm after saving some boaters and was presumed dead, leaving Meta to ponder the mystery while it was speculated that perhaps Zach was an angel. In 1998, Meta spent a secluded life in the Bauer home, serving as the matriarch and voice of wisdom for not only her family, but also for Blake Marler who was torn between her husband, Ross and his brother, Ben Warren. In 1999, Danny Santos married Michelle to prevent his mother, Carmen, from killing her since she and Drew Jacobs had accidentally caused the death of Mick Santos months earlier. Though Meta warned Michelle that Danny had a dangerous background and that she should leave town, Michelle stayed with Danny anyway. Not long after, Meta left Springfield to visit her sister, Trudy, and brother-in-law, Clyde, in New York City.
Over twenty years since she'd last been in Springfield, Meta returned in November 1996 and took up residence in the Bauer house to take over the household which she found completely changed. Upon arriving, Meta mistook Abby for Michelle as well as Phillip for Rick. Rick was astonished that Meta was in town since she didn't tell him she was coming but Meta replied that Ed had invited her ages ago. After Meta finally met Michelle, she was shocked to see that Michelle looked like her cousin Mary Bauer. Michelle wasn't happy about Meta's return since she felt Meta treated her like a child. Rick tried to convince her not to interfere in Michelle's life but Meta replied that she had made a lot of mistakes in her life and she wanted to prevent her great-niece from making the same ones. Meanwhile, Michelle was involved with the mysterious Zachary Smith and when Meta first met him at the Lighthouse, she was shocked to see that he looked like his grandfather. Zach said he never knew his parents or his grandparents while he also avoided Meta's questions about Mary. Meta then remembered about the Zachary she had known decades ago: Zach had worked on the town bell tower and was in love with Mary. One day, a young Meta witnessed a conversation between Zach and Mary in which Zach told her that "he" has to marry her. Mary replied that "he" would never marry her and that she would be so ashamed. Mary left and young Meta came up to Zach and asked him what was wrong with Mary. In the present, Meta now told Zach that she remembered her other Zach gave Mary a silver bracelet and she wondered what happened to it. Unfortunately, in January 1997, Zachary suddenly disappeared after he was caught by a storm after saving some boaters and was presumed dead, leaving Meta to ponder the mystery while it was speculated that perhaps Zach was an angel. In 1998, Meta spent a secluded life in the Bauer home, serving as the matriarch and voice of wisdom for not only her family, but also for Blake Marler who was torn between her husband, Ross and his brother, Ben Warren. In 1999, Danny Santos married Michelle to prevent his mother, Carmen, from killing her since she and Drew Jacobs had accidentally caused the death of Mick Santos months earlier. Though Meta warned Michelle that Danny had a dangerous background and that she should leave town, Michelle stayed with Danny anyway. Not long after, Meta left Springfield to visit her sister, Trudy, and brother-in-law, Clyde, in New York City.￼
In August 2000, Meta returned to Springfield and Michelle and Rick were overjoyed. They each filled her in on their relationship problems and Meta complimented both Rick and Michelle for bravely making tough choices. She promised to be there to support them through their tough times. Michelle told Meta that she was pregnant with Danny's baby and that Claire Ramsey advised her to get an abortion. To Meta's delight, Michelle, after a short absence out of town, decided to keep her baby. Later, Meta encouraged Michelle to follow her heart with Danny. Michelle opened up to Meta and informed her of how Danny saved her life by apparently killing Carmen. When Michelle also told her of Claire's role in deceiving her and helping Carmen, Meta kicked Claire out of the garage apartment and told her that she was no longer welcome at the Bauer's. In 2001, Meta asked Alan Spaulding for funds to restore the lighthouse and Alan agreed to sponsor it as long as Claire helped. Meta was also on hand to lend some words of wisdom to Harley Cooper when she figured out that she was pregnant, especially after Harley confessed that it was Rick's baby. A highlight of Meta's time in town was reading the Declaration of Independence at the Bauer Barbecue. In 2002, Meta left for Nova Scotia to pay a visit to a friend and would stay there for an undetermined amount of time, due to a broken hip. It can be presumed that Meta has since recovered and joined younger sister Trudy in New York City.￼