Over 35 years ago, when I was a newlywed, I worked from home. My wife would come home from work for lunch and we would watch Days Of Our Lives together as we ate.
At first I had a hard time getting into the seemingly mundane narrative of the small town characters and their conflicts. Over time I began to appreciate the acting, the writing, the moral dilemmas and the never ending drama of neighborhood conflict. Every once in a while, 54 years later, I will catch an episode and think "Wow, they are still going at it?"
Shortly after moving to Escondido I joined the Escondido Country Club. A few years later my wife started working at the clubhouse as a cocktail/special events server. For the next 20 years we lived in our little version of Salem. The drama never stopped between member cliques, member boards and the management. Like the characters on the TV show, owners and members came and went, lived and died, and some left and came back again.
And like the show, we got used to it and ultimately found solace in being a part of a community of like-minded golfers and local homeowners. We shared more than just a golf experience. The club sponsored all kinds of charity events, tournaments, estate sales, financial services workshops and holiday and graduation parties. Our kids used the pool and tennis courts, and many friends were married under the towering eucalyptus trees.
Our community centerpiece survived ownership changes, recessions and lawsuits until one day in 2012 when everything changed. Since that day half the community feels betrayed, and the other half feels, well, betrayed...
We both call each other names, scream invectives and claim one side is holding the other side 'hostage'. An outsider might think they were watching the latest iditoration of Days of Our Lives, but we are only one soap opera of many.
Meantime, while lawsuits continue to stop the current owner from redeveloping the abandoned golf course property with a high density city-within-a-city, we can all agree the current situation is tragic and sad.
If there is one thing that leaves me annoyed, just as the storyline of weekly soap operas often do, it is the total lack of dignity the various characters show for each other. They shake each others hands at community events, then turn around and trash talk about them privately. They assign preposterous motivations to "suspects" in nefarious plot machinations, then a few years later watch their kids get married!
Until I actually lived it, I never bought the idea that people actually did stuff like that. Now I know I was wrong. Maybe that is what attracts daytime soap opera viewers: Exposing the dark side of otherwise nice neighbors next door.
Television is fantasy and requires unrealistic plot twists to keep an audience, but our community drama is very real and as I have often said, a human tragedy that was never intended to be so destructive to people who were otherwise minding their own business.
Having said that, there is evidence that the producers of the series are spinning off many other soap operas of a similar plot because the series is very profitable, so if anyone wants to look at who is benefiting most from the storyline, it isn't much of a secret.
"This is not the first time Bobby Heath or Michael Schlesinger have devastated communities in order to sell homes. Golf properties in San Diego, Escondido, Corona, Rancho Mirage, and others have been owned or operated by Heath and/or Schlesinger and shut down in order to force the local residents to allow additional development of homes, hotels, apartments, etc. WGP and Michael Schlesinger purchase, invests in, or controls golf courses as a modern-day land-grab. If the local residents resist their efforts, they destroy the community." - Mike Konrad, https://www.victoryforvellano.com/
Stay tuned, the script is still being written...