Inside Lane

All Soaped Up

My Granny’s living room was straight out of a 60s JC Penney catalog. The sofa was a stiff, unforgiving goldenrod. The ottomans were goldenrod and avocado sushi-roll shaped furniture. The recliner was burgundy pleather. The stereo was six feet long, nestled in a mahogany buffet, the top covered in Sears portraits of the family.

 Her walled-up, brick fireplace and mantle had been painted white, and she decorated with avocado colored glass swans. The lamps were gold, with cream colored shades. But, the best thing in the room was the massive television set. It was the biggest television in our family, so when I was able to watch Felix the Cat, Sinbad the Sailor, Mighty Mouse, and Underdog it was as they were meant to be seen. And I was able to watch soap operas—the forbidden passion of my pre-school days.

 My mother forbade my watching soaps because the actors said “swear words”. I wasn’t sure what swear words were, but I figured watching soap operas would be a good way to find out. There was something else about the actors taking the Lord’s name in vain, and that made even less sense, since I thought they were taking the Lord’s name in vein. Ah, English.

 Granny, who only sat still in the evenings, after all the housework had been done, and it had cooled off enough for the porch, would leave me to the honor system. “Baby, Granny’s going to go [insert a chore]. Be good. You know your mother doesn’t want you watching The Stories.”

 I would say, “Yes, ma’am,” and settle in.

 The best way to watch soap operas was to sit in the recliner, but in the hot, Alabama summers, I’d get stuck to the seat. So, I would usually just flip an ottoman over onto its side, and belly roll myself back and forth while the Buchanans, and the Quartermaines, and Erica Cane did their things.

The goldenrod sushi roll ottoman with the avocado roll peeking out from behind my polyester pants legs, and a fraction of what was then the biggest television I’d ever seen. Also, a puppy. And me.


I fantasized about how much better my life could have been, were I named Silver, or Eden, or Priscilla, and wondered why everyone was always so upset. No one ever just watched TV on a soap opera. I reasoned that Silver, Eden, and Priscilla would have been much less unhappy, had they just belly rolled themselves over to the UHF dial, and found an episode of The Little Rascals.

 Why am I thinking about this? I was scrolling through comments on a story about yoga-con-artist, identical twin sisters (one twin drove both twins over a cliff, killing the passenger twin, and driving twin was charged with murder) and saw the Days of our Lives hourglass, and suddenly, I was in Granny’s living room again.

 As a pre-schooler, I loved watching that hourglass. It reminded me of the Wizard of Oz. As an adult, the hourglass…that’s maudlin…as is the Wizard of Oz.

 Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it’s time to buy a couple of sushi roll ottomans for my own living room. I’ll bet Game of Thrones is even more fun to watch, rocking back and forth.

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