The Yellow House

Erin Lape
Eng. 151
The Yellow House in Genoa
I remember a lot of things from the time when I was around one or two
years old. I remember eating eggs mixed with ham every morning, playing on
my own waterbed, moving between two different houses, and having my sister as
a best friend even though she was much older than I was. One characteristic of
myself I can clearly remember is how attached I was to my mother. To me she
was the end-all, be-all of everything beautiful and wonderful in the world. I would
always cry when she left and I would anxiously await her arrival at the end of
each day. When she came home, I would rejoice with child-like happiness at her
return. Besides just remembering these incidents from when I was very little, I
have one memory that distinctly sits in my mind.
When I was about two years old, my family and I lived in a small yellow
house near downtown Genoa, Illinois. The yellow house had two floors and a
small one-floored section to one side of it. We rented out our section of the
house from a barber who kept his shop in the one-floored section that was off of
our east wall. Outside of his business hung a blue-and-white striped barber’s
pole with a sign. Inside the shop hung mirrors, hair-washing sinks, and hooks to
place barber’s utensils on. Mounted in the floor were four or five “twirly” barber’s
A wood-rimmed door with a large, shiny glass window connected the two
sections of the house. We kept the window covered with a large draw down
shade. I remember going through the door to visit the barber periodically. He
was a nice man who liked our family, and he would let us hang around his shop.
He would cut our hair for us if he wasn’t too busy. I also, consequently, distinctly
remember having very pretty hair at that age (from both pictures and memories).
The one clear memory I have of the barber shop is associated with my
mother. One night, just like any other night, the whole family was in the house
doing whatever it was they usually did. My usual routine was: 1.) Look for my
mother; 2.) Follow her around; 3.) Bother her immensely; and 4.) Try to get her to
give all of her attention to me. However, on this night I never got past step 2. I
just could not find her! I kept asking my sister and my father where she had
gone, but for every “Where did she go?” I gave, I received an “I don’t know!” in
I was frantic. I was getting very angry with them when I realized that she
wasn’t in the house. I kept asking myself, “How could this be? She never leave
without me after she comes home from work!” It was so unusual of her to just
disappear without me seeing her off or crying to be taken with her before she left
to go wherever it was she was headed.
I figured that I should sit down. “No big deal,” I kept telling myself. Inside,
it was a big deal. I did get just a little bit nervous at the thought of her
disappearing and not coming back (which naturally would be what a two-year old
would think). I remember sitting there on the couch, watching the television and
trying to think about other things.
After a short while the phone rang. I picked it up since it sat right next to
the TV on a small table and I was across the room on the couch. I walked past
the large glass door and reached for the receiver. I must have said something
undoubtedly intelligent for a two-year old that was worthy of the praise of any
infant-adoring adult. I believe it was what my parents had taught me to say.
Something along the lines of “Hello, Weis household?” I couldn’t believe who it
My mom was speaking to me on the other line. She was asking me
questions like, “What is Daddy doing?” and “What is Christine doing?” and so
forth. I think that at that moment I was between having happiness and anger at
her due to the whole situation. As she kept talking to me about random things as
if playing a game, I listened over through the glass door because I thought I
heard someone talking in the barber shop. I remember hearing an echo of my
mom’s voice and somewhat putting “two and two” together.
I sat the phone down quietly and tip-toed over to the large glass door. I
then lifted up the large shade and peered in to the center of the shop.
There was my mother, with her beautiful, shiny hair swinging around as
she twirled around in the barber’s chair. She was holding a Coca-Cola (it was
like something out of a commercial) and she had the barbers’ wall phone in her
hand. I remember this mostly because of how beautiful she looked as the
moonlight from the east window bounced around the room and landed in all of
the perfect places to make it become a very beautiful memory.
I remembered this story with no real thought at all, and I still, to this day,
associate it with my life because I think that it symbolizes that I had a very happy
early-childhood. Because this is my only clear memory from around that age, I
figure it just means that I thought everything was beautiful and wonderful (which
is a common result of having a contented life). And this story, actually, despite
the frantic suspense of my mother missing in the beginning, is a very happy story
that is attached to a very happy memory.