As many of us who grew up in the 50's or before know, very few homes
in the country had indoor bathrooms. My relatives houses were no exception.
They had running water before they felt indoor plumbing for the bath
was deemed necessary.
The outhouse was always located some distance from the main house for
My grandparents had a two-seater, one for the adults and one for the
little ones. And, yes, it contained an out-dated Sears & Roebuck
catalog. It was not unusual to spot a spider every now and then, but
to my knowledge, none of us was ever bitten. As a "town kid",
I found the whole situation appalling.
Generous amounts of lime were added to the "toilet hole" on
a regular basis. But, in time, the hole could hold no more. So, a few
feet farther away from the house, Granddaddy would dig another very deep
cavity in the ground, cover the old hole and move the entire outhouse
over the new one. We were good to go until it became necessary to move
it again and the whole process was repeated. Over the years, the toilet
was many yards removed from the house.
During a chilly autumn, I remember spending a night at my Aunt Zett and
Uncle Willie's home near Dalton when I was still a quite small child.
At the time, they did not yet own a television and the radio was the
main source of entertainment.
That evening, well after dark, I had been listening to a radio show that
must have been a take-off on the Orson Welles broadcast of War of the
Worlds from 1938. In retrospect, I'm sure it was meant to be a comedy,
but at the time, I took it as "dead-on".
It spoke of green Martians having landed near Crofton which is a small
community, not far away, in Christian Co. They had landed in a number
9 washtub! Can you imagine such a thing? I still chuckle when I remember
Anyway, I was absolutely petrified, peeking out through the windows from
time to time into the dark, moonless night.
Like my grandparents my aunt and uncle had an outhouse which was even
farther away than Granddaddy's. I was always diligent about using it
well before sundown, but sometimes Mother Nature just didn't cooperate.
In each bedroom, there was a chamber pot (Granddaddy called it a "slop
jar"). However, it was to be used for #1 only and never for #2.
If you had to accomplish #2, you HAD to go to the outhouse.
As luck would have it that night, when I was nearly scared out of my
wits, I knew I had to #2 and there was going to be no way out of it.
Knowing their honery, old zebra-stripped mule was certain to be watching
for me and that the Martians were about to invade the farm at any moment,
I got the courage to venture outside. It was so dark and scarey I got
only as far as the side of the little porch that connected the kitchen
to the smokehouse. On that very spot, I made my deposit.
Of course, first thing the next morning, as Aunt Zett headed out to gather
the eggs, she stepped right into my you know what!
I was immediately and rightly chastized for what I had done and never
repeated that performance again!
It's funny to recall now, but it was serious business then.
I hope you see the humor in this rather than finding it gross.