In color photographs, my childhood house looks fresh as an uncut sheet cake— pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube. Whose dream was this confection? This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes? The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees. Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties. The Avon Lady treks door to door. Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch, hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it, squinting in California sunlight, striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck. I sit in the backyard (this picture's black-and-white), my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass. I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur, each palm tree and round "granite" house. Half a century later, I barely recognize it when I search the address on Google Maps and, via "Street view," find myself face to face— foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits one of the windows. I can almost see what's inside.
Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera [excerpt]
348 Just when you think you can trust someone, they turn out to be the Bad Seed. 349 I do not know which to prefer: Shakespeare quote or pillow fight after. 350 Stuffed bird and weirdo behind desk—is Jack checking into Bates Motel? 351 Rachel kidnaps the baby, yes, but in preview Betty and Rod kiss. 352 Something I learned long ago, Connie: never turn down a sedative. 353 Two policemen shoot at and chase Chandler. All three of them run like girls. 354 Leigh will one day win Emmy, but not for losing her mind on this show. 355 Here's Gena Rowlands, Mrs. John Cassavetes, much-needed fresh blood. 356 Relax, Rita won't croak. Her weak heart will tick till this soap gets canceled. 357 Jack escapes from jail and takes off to do guest spots on TV Westerns. 358 Whack! Nothing ends an episode better than a good slap in the face. 359 And nothing starts an episode better than a repeat of that slap. 360 "Again" (Fox standard) is always playing at the Colonial Inn. 361 Step right up, folks, and witness Rod's imitation of a barking seal. 362 This is just to say Elliot ate an apple— Golden Delicious.