I always watched whenever my mom did, at least by school age. Earlier than that--probably I was napping or sent out to play during her stories. At least early 60's.
I started watching on my own as a young mother soon after I left my job to take care of my son--so late 70's, early 80's. Before that it was summer and school vacations and sick days, with a few years gap when I as away at school (I was poor: no tv in my dorm room) and then working on my own (we didn't even have a television until we'd been married more than a year). No VCRs in those days. You know, sometimes it might have been a few months since I actually saw a show, yet when I did see it during a vacation or because I was home sick, I always knew exactly who was who, even if the actors had changed. Mom would catch me up on the latest, but really, like my kids and husband do now, I pretended I didn't watch or care. As my daughter, husband and youngest son were around when I watched the final shows, explaining that the show was ending forever, they all asked about this character or that. My youngest son's favorite character was always Roger. All of us were thrilled to see MZ on an episode of Law and Order. And of course, all the other GL alums. BTW, I'm not always the first to spot one on prime time shows: it's often a kid or hubby who notice first and ask if that isn't so and so from Guiding Light--or sometimes, ATWT, from the days when I watched that as well.
But Guiding Light kept me company as I folded laundry, paid bills, planned meals, worked on costumes or baked while kids napped. It was always an afternoon show where ever I lived, so even during summers, it was my break from the heat of outdoors and yard work.
Things I remember: I remember Bert as being rather a scold; I remember the Mike/Leslie/Ed thing, Roger and Holly, Amanda when she was an introverted, shy, child like woman and Ross when he was rather a conniver himself. I remember Carrie Todd! And of course, the Reardons, and the boarding house and loved Tony and Annabelle Simms and their love story/murder mystery. I loved when the Chamberlains came to town, Vanessa and Henry plotting and scheming, and her chasing Tony Reardon. I remember Nola chasing Kelly and trying to trick him into marriage but finally finding Quint. Harley giving birth in the alley, the 4 Musketeers, running away to NYC, and Nick at Christmas. I will never forget Judi Evans in the shower scene after being raped by Bradley. It still gives me chills.
Guiding Light would have had me as a viewer for another 20 years or more, and I suspect, my kids more than they would care to admit. I am sorry for the hard times foisted upon my beloved Guiding Light and sad to see it all end.