17 November, 2011

{this memory} 26

Yes, it is - it is exactly what you think. You could call it a two-holer, although duplex would be more accurate. Call it what you will - a privy, an outhouse, the necessary, the dunny, thunderbox, biffy, kybo, can, john, throne - whatever makes you most comfortable.

These are behind my paternal grandmother's home in Naylor, Missouri. Her third husband (not my grandfather) was a blacksmith, and today the home is Clutterʼs Blacksmith Shop Museum. It was a working shop up into the late 1950s, but several years after my grandmother died it was dedicated by relatives as a museum to be held in trust. The original forge, still operable, is a brick forge with a side draft masonry chimney and has a variable speed electric draft fan. You can more about my visits there in {This Memory} 11.

I can remember using these outhouses as a young boy in the 1950s and, I think (not sure), during my last visit to my grandmother in 1976. The large shed beside them in the photo was a later addition. There was running water in the house, but not much - just at the kitchen sink and for a shower in the basement under the sink. Not a lot of plumbing. I also remember that we didn't use the outhouse at night; that's what the chamber pots were for. Ah, the good old days.

I took this photo in 2005 when my wife and I were driving around America. Okay, let's be honest - I was driving. She, therefore, had to go where I wanted, and I wanted her to see some of my boyhood haunts, to see what made the man. I'm happy to say she has fully recovered.

I am a fortunate man. I can look back on many happy memories, and as odd as it might seem, this is actually one of them. If nothing else, it fosters an appreciation for what one has in life.