“Lemon Lane” – Fiction by Foust

Girl with Pigtails - Amedeo Modigliani, 1918
Girl with Pigtails – Amedeo Modigliani, 1918

From our summer issue, “Lemon Lane” by Foust is a witty, bitter, melancholy riff on fame, identity, and memory through the eyes of a former sitcom star.

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LET’S GET THIS PART OUT OF THE WAY: I know I look familiar to you. Believe me, we’ve never met before. I was Krissy on that TV show “Lemon Lane.” Back in the early seventies. Here, let me refresh your memory: If I put my hands on my hips and tilt my head to the side, you might see it. Now, I have to say “Hey! Don’t look at me.” Yes. I was that little girl with pigtails who was always in trouble.

I get that look all the time. That “Don’t I know you?” look. It’s because I was in your house. I was in everyone’s house. People think they know me. Well, they used to. I’ve almost aged out of it, but these two little moles on my cheek give me away. Remember the episode where I—errr, Krissy—tried to sand them off with sandpaper? And then she had to be in the Christmas play. And they made me be a shepherd because then I could wear a beard over where I’d sanded my face.

You know, I was a lot older than Krissy. Most people thought she was six. But I was actually nine when I got the part. When I started to get boobs, they fired me. Well, on the show I got written off to boarding school and my family adopted a little girl named Brandy who was supposed to be the daughter of a family friend who died. Her catch phrase was “Are you kidding?” She had to tilt her head to one side the same way I used to. But she didn’t have to put her hands on her hips.

Sometimes, I would get called in to make a guest appearance. Maybe for a holiday show or something. They would write up something so I could say “Hey! Don’t look at me.” The studio audience would laugh. And then the writers would find a reason for me to leave so they could get back to finding ways to make Brandy say “Are you kidding?

After “Lemon Lane,” I didn’t get another TV show. I did do some commercials—remember Fudgy Squares? Or Kiddle Kids?

It’s strange, looking like someone who’s been in everybody’s house. I have two lives that run side-by-side like train tracks. Sometimes people forget which stories are real and which are from the show. It happens to me too. But when I remember something that happened and I realize that I was wearing pigtails, then I know it’s a show memory, rather than a real one. Those pigtails were fake. They just attached them to my real hair with some water soluble glue. At the end of every day, I had to tip my head over the sink in the dressing room and spend twenty minutes washing the glue out of my hair.

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pink portraitFOUST is a writer, printmaker, and curmudgeon. She lives in Richmond VA with her lovely husband Melvyn and several spoiled rescue dogs. She has an MFA from Spalding University. She goes by one name in order to save time.

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