#164: Memory of Childhood - 1: The Outhouse
Thursday, December 10, 2009
How many people today know what an outhouse is, much less have used one? Not a port-a-potty at a construction or other site, but an honest to goodness two-seater spider-webbed outhouse?
As a youngster I spent time with my grandmother on her farm in South Central Indiana. Her outhouse was a fair distance from the house. For a six-year-old, that was a very looooong walk in the darkness penetrated only by a flashlight while all manner of strange and unknown insect and animal sounds attacked my senses as I hoped nothing would attack me. Many times if I only had to go number one, I would simply slip around the corner of the house and let fly, so to speak. Otherwise, a very thorough search of the inside was made before I could use the facilities. And of course I never sat completely down because no one ever knew what entities loomed beneath the wooden seats.
Later my grandmother elevated our experience to an indoor chamber pot and eventually indoor plumbing. No more trips outside to dispose of the pot's contents and no more having to pump water from the well to clean the pot, although she did use well water for bathing, washing clothes and cooking because she thought it more pure than "citified" piped water.
In 2002 my uncle and aunt finally remodeled my grandmother's old house, adding a jacuzzi tub, marble counter tops and updated plumbing.
But for me, no matter how nice the house, when I visit I always look out at the corner of the property where the old outhouse once proudly stood and recall being a scared little boy trying to act like a man as he trekked alone to the wooden structure.