During the Great Depression and long afterwards, many poor people didn’t have indoor plumbing. My family was in that category, so naturally, we heard many humorous horror stories about outdoor toilets. My husband remembered very clearly that during the winter time in Kansas when he was just a little kid, he fell through the large hole and managed to crawl out an opening in the back. Lucky for him that everything below was frozen solid.
In my book, The Home for the Friendless on page 110, is another outrageous story of an outhouse adventure. My grandmother was babysitting all of my cousins on the farm after their mom was resting up from the birth of her 7th child. While I was there, the family dog, Spike, fell through the outhouse hole onto the foul waste below. It was summertime and nothing was frozen. What to do? Grandmother lowered my nine-year cousin, Hubert (what a little hero he was), headfirst into the hole while all the rest of the cousins held onto her skirt and to each other. Hubert grabbed Spike and both he and the dog were pulled back out into fresh air. But Spike staggered to his feet and shook his coat furiously, sending icky stuff flying every where. A few of the kids helped Grandmother to grab Spike and hold onto him real tight while the rest of the kids hosed him clean. It meant that every kid who got splattered had to strip naked and get hosed off, too, and their clothes tossed into the rain barrel. It was an awesome sight: kids running around naked squirting each other with the hose and Grandmother standing there with shoulders sagging, waiting her turn.
I have no doubt that reading this has brought an outhouse story of your own to mind. So, let’s hear it.