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Updated on January 24, 2012

I Gotta Go!

My Least Favorite Place as a Kid

One of my least favorite places as a kid was the outhouse. I would guess this to be true for all those who lived in the day when this was their only option.

We lived on a farm at a time when bathrooms with indoor plumbing was an indulgence only enjoyed by those more financially vested. Our farmhouse had hot and cold running water in the kitchen, and eventually in a little washroom where the wringer washer was, but the serious business still took place in the outhouse.

Ours was a two-holer. Down a path between two furrowed plots of garden where I remember corn growing. It wasn't so far from the house that you feared not making it in time without a headstart, but far enough away that it still allowed for a comfortable "atmosphere" around the yard.

Still, it was a scary place for a kid. I don't remember ever entering without first bolstering my courage with a mental reminder that the spiders weren't really that big, or something wouldn't rise up and bite you, or a fly wouldn't land on your behind, or you wouldn't fall in. In my mind, the depth of the thing went on and on without bottom. The trick was to do your business as quickly as possible, as seldom as possible, and get out as swiftly as possible.

Some people would make attempts to glamorize their outhouses with cutouts, a fresh paint job, or a row of flowers along a side wall. Some even had signs of identification on the door (as if the smell wasn't descriptive enough). We always called ours "the toilet." Others referred to theirs as "outhouse", "privy", and by the more affluent, "the necessary room."

Today, we whimsically decorate with wall decor reminding us of how it used to be in simpler days. Though the actual experience was scary, I still think of those carefree days as good, and each time I see a sign with the word "Outhouse," I smile, relax and conclude, "I gotta go!"


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