My younger brother used to attend a school in the Northeast part of Glendale during the early 1990's. We lived a few miles southwest of the school, so driving there in the 1983 blue Volvo station wagon was always a bit of an adventure. One could take surface streets to the school, yet my mother usually took the 2 freeway because it was faster and more convenient. Upon exiting the freeway we would always pass a set of houses that were situated on a hill that overlooked the city. The houses initially caught my attention because each and every one of them was pink. There was a certain mysteriousness to them that I wanted so badly to experience, yet I did not verbalize this desire until my mother finally suggested one day that we "go on a drive" after dropping my brother off at school.
"Yeah, let's drive over there," I said, pointing at the houses. "To Pink Village." What a name I had given it. There was one main road that led to Pink Village, and it seemed like a fairly unremarkable road from where I would normally gaze at it from a distance. Yet that morning the road was a winding portal that led to a beautifully mystical place that had only lived in my mind before that day.
At the top of the hill, we reached an intersection. My mother, always allowing me to make my own decisions, asked, "Which way should I turn?"
"Left!" I said, without any good reason. Shortly after that the homes were visible. Every single one of them was exactly like the one next to it. The addresses were as long as phone numbers. One of the few differences was that some homes had the garage on the left and others had it on the right. The gardens varied slightly as well. Some families chose to plant rosebushes, others had irises. I guessed that the only way the residents of Pink Village knew which garage to park in at night was to count and remember which belonged to them.
My mother and I shared a certain relief that we did not live in a place like Pink Village. "What if we lost our house?" I was certain that I would lose my house, especially because of my less-than-stellar sense of direction.
On the way down the hill, we drove near an empty patch of land that was covered in the most beautiful wild flowers I had ever seen. My mom pulled over, we got out, and walked around. I had no idea what any of these flowers were, but they were incredible.
"Pretty soon houses will be built on this land," my mother said, "and these flowers won't be here any more." This saddened me.
"Why? Aren't there enough houses in Pink Village already?"
Of course not.
We walked around a little bit more, picked some flowers, and decided to continue driving down the hill. We passed by a few more look-alike-house-villages (I did not yet know the term "tract home"), and I felt a certain nostalgia for the pre-Pink Village days. Now that I had a better idea of what it was like, I could not help but feel slightly let down.
I looked at my new bundle of flowers, and I wondered if they knew where they came from.
We never drove back to Pink Village.