Sit or Squat

outhouseBoy oh boy, it was one of those days when I could not think of what to blahg about. It is a busy, busy, busy week and, well, that is all I will say… Y’all are sayin’, “give us a rest from your old bag blather, roight?” Sorry. NPR inspired me with an article about, among other things, Sit or Squat. Sit or squat? Guess what this picture from the Jurassic Age is? It is a brand new bathroom for the cabin on Fin Family Moominbeach. That’s the Commander holding the whole works up while Grandroobly does a little measuring or whatever. And yes, it is in the woods. It is an *outhouse*.

I love telling people that I grew up with an outhouse. They always kind of squint at me like, how old are you and/or what kind of hillbilly* are you? Well. I ain’t th’ most cultcher’d ol’ bag on erth but I do think most people do kind of a disconnect. But yes. Most of us had outhouses on Fin Family Moominbeach back in the old days. We only had a one-holer and so did the Old Cabin until a second hole was installed. The Piedmont/McNaughton clan had a big three-holer. Exciting stuff.

I can think of about a billion outhouse stories. Running out there in the pouring rain. All the times I was *terrified* to go out there at night because I thought there were werewolves or vampires in the woods and would use the Old Cabin outhouse with my cousins. Finding a luna moth on the path and freaking out (yeah). The time I surprised Pete Sherman on the toilet there. Yiiy, I did a quick retreat! I do not know why the parents never put a *door* on the dern thing. Duh! There are a few good stories about our v-e-r-y slow transition between outdoor and indoor plumbing. And then there was the day The Engineer knocked the old thing down, with the help of his daughters Valdemort and Pengo Janetto.

It is one thing to have your own outhouse on your own private property on your family’s own private beach. You and your family are just about the only people who use it ever and you just deal with it and, as gross as it probably is down there, you learn not to look, not even with your flashlight. Nowadays? I don’t miss outhouses at all and there are important public health reasons for replacing them with flushy toilets. But there are plenty of flushy toilets that either don’t work correctly or are dirtier than the old public outhouses.

Anyway. This was life in the early 60s on Fin Family Moominbeach. My “cuzzint” Sandy sent this picture a while back. Thanks!

* One of the most intelligent, creative people I have ever known enjoyed identifying himself as a hillbilly.

10 Responses to “Sit or Squat”

  1. Jan Miller Says:

    I lost one of my favorite shirts down to hole at the old cabin’s outhouse and I think Jeff may have lost his teeth down the outhouse at Piedmont’s. As you said, lots of stories.

  2. Jay Says:

    And I still like to occassionally use the one at the Old Cabin. I remember being out their with Grandma, and her telling me to watch the leaves on the birch trees twirling in the wind. That and having to relearn remembering to flush at the end of summer.
    And I took great pains to introduce my kids to the inner workings of the modern (non-pressure) toilets. Look – this is how they work, you will want to know if it starts to overflow, and they all do at some point. When I arrived home today there was a note to call Rey. His Tennessee toilet was not functioning properly (short cycling and not filling). We discussed flapper valves, ball cocks, chains, rods and what to do until he could call his landlord.

  3. Sam Says:

    (Historical) archaeologists l-o-v-e toilet pits: (surprising) things are lost/put/hidden/forgotten there; organic things survive due to the special chemistry.

  4. Dog Mom Says:

    The Commander? On the stepstool? Um… looks too tall for her, and the shoes look as if they could be *masculine*? Methinks that might be one of your male relatives or beach peoples?

  5. Dog Mom Says:

    So… Piedmont’s outhouse was “holier than thou’s”…. [not sorry for that one, just couldn’t resist]

  6. jane Says:

    I use the outhouse at least once a summer. just because.

    going out in the rain was not that fun though – had to carefully push aside the wet branches across the path. and going out at night I was afraid that a bear would show up. Joyce probably created that fear in me. 😉 ah, the joys of having a big sister.

  7. Pooh Says:

    And of course there was the game of locking someone IN the outhouse, using the outside latch that was there to keep the snow and critters out the rest of the year. Maybe that’s why the “new” outhouse that Jack and Fran built didn’t have a door?

  8. Pooh Says:

    I think Fran is the one at the bottom and Jack would be the one on the stepstool.

  9. Pengo Says:

    euuugh historical archaeology and toilets. so glad i’m in prehistoric, pre-contact archaeology 🙂

  10. Margaret Says:

    I’ve been camping and had to use pit toilets as well as the Turkish toilets in Senegal–I’m just not crazy about it, especially the squatting. My quads are just not in good enough condition!!