Did you or one of your relatives have an outside toilet (a little house) out back when you were growing up? Literally for so many people it was the little house behind the house.
We had one in my first house when I got married, but we never used it. The whole kitchen was gutted and the space the toilet occupied, which was 1/4 of the original kitchen, was taken up by the new kitchen.
I have heard tales of it being freezing in winter, especially when you “had to go” in the middle of the night. It’s bad enough in winter with an inside toilet and a freezing toilet seat, but imagine the toilet being outside, it must have been unbearable to sit down on.
I guess we had it easy, growing up in the 50’s and more recently, but I am sure there are many people who have fond (or not so fond) memories of them.
Anyhow, since we are on the subject of outside toilets, here is a poem about the little house behind the house.
One of my bygone recollections,
As I recall the days of yore
Is the little house, behind the house,
With the crescent over the door.
‘Twas a place to sit and ponder
With your head bowed down low
Knowing that you wouldn’t be there,
If you didn’t have to go.
Ours was a three-holer,
With a size for every one.
You left there feeling better,
After your usual job was done.
You had to make these frequent trips
Whether snow, rain, sleet, or fog,
To the little house where you usually
Found the Sears-Roebuck catalog.
Oft times in dead of winter,
The seat was covered with snow.
Twas then with much reluctance,
To the little house you’d go.
With a swish you’d clear the seat,
Bend low, with dreadful fear
You’d blink your eyes and grit your teeth
As you settled on your rear.
I recall the day that Grandad,
Who stayed with us one summer,
Made a trip to the shanty
Which proved to be a hummer.
‘Twas the same day my Dad
Finished painting the kitchen green.
He’d just cleaned up the mess he’s made
With rags and gasoline.
He tossed the rags in the shanty hole
And went on his usual way
Not knowing that by doing so
He would eventually rue the day.
Now Grandad had an urgent call,
I never will forget!
This trip he made to the little house
Lingers in my memory yet.
He sat down on the shanty seat,
With both feet on the floor.
Then filled his pipe with tobacco
And struck a match on the outhouse door.
After the Tobacco began to glow,
He slowly raised his rear:
Tossed the flaming match in the open hole,
With not a sign of fear.
The Blast that followed, I am sure
Was heard for miles around;
And there was poor ol’ Grandad
Just a’sitting on the ground.
The smoldering pipe was still in his mouth,
His suspenders he held tight;
The celebrated three-holer
Was blown clear out of sight.
When we asked him what had happened,
His answer I’ll never forget.
He thought it must be something
That he had recently et!
Next day we had a new one
Which my Dad built with ease.
With a sign on the entrance door
Which read: No Smoking, Please!
Now that’s the end of the story,
With memories of long ago,
Of the little house, behind the house
Where we went cause we had to go!
Image used under a Collective Commons License from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Outside_Otji_toilet_(5201185500).jpg