I only used an outhouse one time. I was about 4 or 5 years old. Pap and I were at the local country store-Doris Jeans. Pap was taking forever talking to someone-I wanted to go home because I had to go to the bathroom. I kept on and on until Pap sent me to the store’s facilities-which was an outhouse. I remember it was creepy-with spiderwebs. I also remember wishing I hadn’t pestered Pap about having to go to the bathroom.
Even though I dream of by gone days and all the knowledge they hold, I don’t think I missed out on anything by growing up with indoor plumbing. Matthew Burns gives a clear perspective about growing up with an outhouse in A Malodorous Memory.
After doing some research on Outhouses I came up with some interesting tidbits.
- I’ve heard about 2 seater outhouses-I just thought it was so more than one person could use the potty at a time-not true. One seat was made larger for adults-one smaller for kids.
- One theory about the moon on the door-the moon was the symbol for women-the star burst was the symbol for men. Since men’s outhouses usually weren’t kept up as well, they deteriorated faster. The women’s outhouses being taken better care of-lasted longer-thus we associate the moon with outhouses.
- Thomas Crapper was one of the first installers of water-closets.
- Folks had different names for outhouses such as: I’m going to; the white house, the garden house, the la-la, the throne, the summer house, the library, the shiver shanty, and many others. One I still hear on regular basis-I’m going to see a man about a dog. (from The Deer Hunter)
- Outhouse diggers are folks who find old outhouses and dig for treasure. They find all manner of items-mostly very old bottles.
In the 1960’s Billy Edd Wheeler wrote a satirical song, Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back, about losing a beloved outhouse. In a way, the song proves folks can be sentimental about anything.
For this week’s Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot- Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back.
Hope you enjoyed the song. I ask Granny and Pap if they had any outhouse stories for me. Pap said one of the elementary schools he went to had outhouses. Granny said she did not care to remember any outhouse stories at all!! Do you have any outhouse stories or memories to share? Please leave me a comment-I’d love to hear about it!