Good-morning, kittens & dawgs! I am totally into learning about my ancestors. Last Friday, you sampled a taste of my genealogy with Meet my parents. I shared with you that Mom and Dad were both born in southern West Virginia. Of course, I lived there until I married in 1979.
In the era my parents were born (late 30s to mid-40s) times were hard for the mountaineers. Folks in the small woods communities in McDowell County had few luxuries and many lived in conditions we would think are primitive today.
I got to thinking about their many inconveniences and things we take for granted like bathrooms. In those days, you went to the bathroom in an Outhouse (outdoor toilet) in most areas. Although, finding a spot behind a tree would work, too. When I was a little girl that’s the only bathroom my family had until the late 60s. Have you had the privilege of using one?Now, this brings me to the point of post. I have a funny story to share about my last time in an outhouse.
In the early 80s, we went home for a weekend visit to my in-laws. Years ago, we sorta coordinated our trips home when DH’s older brothers and their wives would be there, too. On this particular stay the house was full of people.
It was night-time, everyone was doing their own thing as I laid on the sofa reading a scary book when mother nature made her call. I didn’t waste time to check the bathrooms ~ upstairs bathroom…occupied. SHOOT! Downstairs bath…taken! DANG!! I had no other recourse than to venture out into the darkness…alone. It sounds like I’m a bit of scaredy Cathy, doesn’t it? If you said, yes, then you’re right. Trust me, no one wants to go to an outhouse with you. I grabbed a flash light; out the door, across the lawn, and down the hill I went.
Making myself comfortable, it was then I realized all alone…in the dark… and at the edge of the woods my ears picked up every tiny sound. My eyes darted rapidly back and forth. I heard scratching and movement. Where was it? My heart quickened. It wasn’t uncommon for animals to amble across my in-laws property. Was it a bear? A panther? Anything was possible, after all I was in wild, wonderful, West Virginia.
My brow was tense, my nostrils flared excitedly with each breath, and my pulse beating 100mps. “Okay,” I thought, “If it’s a bear I can out run it, but a big cat? No way!” Exhaling heavily, I voiced out loud, “Stay calm. Walk, don’t run. Keep alert!” With saucer wide eyes, I gradually opened the door. So far so good! I don’t see anything, I thought.
I paced my feet – not too fast and not too slow. My heart-felt like it would jump out of my chest. DH told me on several occasions how the terrifying cry from the big cat woke him in the middle of the night or how he sensed the stealthy creature prowling around in the shadows after he’s returned home at night when we dated. Why even Grandma Kennedy told us the story of a panther that chased her and her sister home when she was young; barely escaping death from the merciless feline we named Green Eyes.
The minute long trip back to the comfort of my in-laws home took forever or so it seemed. Breathlessly, I told DH about my experience. Trying to not laugh, I’m sure he giggled just a bit, a silly grin creased his face. “That was a mouse more than likely. They like to build nests under the outhouse.”
My shoulders slumped with relief. I was happy my wild suspicions was nothing more than a mouse, but I couldn’t help to think, “What if it weren’t a mouse, but ole Green Eyes?”
Please forgive me, but this is a good time to toss in a plug for my children’s story. Check out… The Tale of Ole Green Eyes Thanks! 😉
In retrospect, I like to think my venture was every bit as exciting as a panther lurking somewhere in the dark, unseen and not a little mouse. However, I never used the outdoor facilities again after that and avoided being out after dark…alone. lol
You may enjoy reading the Time’s article A Brief History of Toilets. Personally, I am thankful we have toilets…in our home where you don’t have to wear a coat or carry a shotgun when you go to the bathroom, aren’t you?
What stories do you have to share with outhouses?