The Yellow House on the Hill

by Nathalie Vachon

The yellow house on the hill
had a wrap-around porch
had a screen door with a spring on it that snapped back
pushing you into the house before you knew what hit you

There were art projects on the walls
Rae Ellen’s tunnel; a lump of clay painted black
the dark space of the inside of the tunnel
there were toys scattered on old Moroccan carpets
a chalkboard beneath the stairs
Van Morrison on the CD player
windows open
breezes always flowing

There were piles of dishes in the sink left over from last night
but not to worry, there were better things to do

Lena and Rosie, i can picture them still, in the kitchen
with Beauty and the Beast nightgowns and hairy beast slippers
Rosie always wearing wings, powdered biscuit wings,
as they held hands and danced in circles singing “Beauty and the Beast…”

Rae Ellen is chasing spirals on a piece of paper
following stargazing whipper-wills and magic spells

The backyard grass is damp, moist, lush
as if a bewildered garden hose had already made its rounds

Today, I don’t remember grey days, just sun
crumbs on the counter
tomatoes in a bowl on the table
the experiment Terry Jo did with her garden
as she showed me her tomatoes with brown spots saying
“this is the don’t-water-your-garden-and-see-what-happens experiment”

There was art on the fridge, the clock with all the numbers on one half of its face
crayons on the floor, easels in the sun room

There was the day Rae Ellen and her girlfriend were so quiet in her room
until it was discovered
the bean-bag chair had been split open
just so they could fill the room with snow
a fanciful whirligig of white Styrofoam balls snowing in her room

There was the Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham
multicoloured tights and fairy princess dresses
Cherios all over the Volvo, just to add cheer
and petaled teacups
so we could pour tea and talk and talk
and hope and dream and laugh

This was the yellow house on the hill
with the Bichell family and me, the adopted sister/auntie/nanny/friend
this was the house where wings grew
where love was an unending round-about
where family was something you could count on
and where you were always sure
to find
a fairy-dusted embrace


  • Terry Jo Bichell

    That was so beautiful. It reminded me of what is really important in life and that you are someone who can always see that.
    Miss you so much, Nathalie.

    April 13, 2011
  • Rosie Bichell

    Wow! This poem just sent me back in time to when I was 4 years old. It’s great!

    April 13, 2011
  • admin

    thank you so much Rosie and Terry Jo… miss you but your words and memories keep you close xo n

    April 13, 2011
  • Hildie Sausik

    Wow!!!! That was awesome. It brought me back to a quieter, more gentler life…. Oh how I wish for that. Thanks Natale

    I hope you had a good show, I miss you popping into the store.

    October 27, 2012
    • admin

      Thanks Hildie. So nice to hear from you – miss popping in and seeing you! xo

      October 27, 2012

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