Sunday, July 01, 2007

Grandpa and the Outhouse

My great great grandmother was the first white woman in Minden and the town council deeded her a half acre from a corner of the community fair grounds. They also built her a four-room clapboard house, no electricity and no plumbing.

When I was a small child, we went to live with my grandparents for a while. At that point they were living in the home built by the town and had added a small barn, a henhouse, a tractor shed and a trap shed as well as an open smithy area. The outhouse was on it's own a short dash from the back door. There was still no electricity and the water had to be bailed from the dug well across the road, where my grandfather's sister and her husband lived.

When the community decided to install more modern bathroom facilities for the fair grounds, my grandfather loaded the old one on a drag and the old horse towed it home. It had a door at each end and the men's and ladies were separated by a central partition. After installing it at the far end of the trap shed, he built a long covered hallway from the front of the shed along the side to the ladies entrance so that my grandmother could go to the outhouse without getting wet in the rain. The men were made of heartier stuff and were expected to brave the elements and use the men's door.

This in the beginning of the era when houses all came with electricity and indoor plumbing! It struck me as odd at the time, but I came to understand that although they could not afford electricity and there was no water to be had on the property, my taciturn grandfather loved my grandmother very much and would do all in his power to make her life easier (with the exception of what he considered women's work).


Don Iannone said...

Z...So good to see you back. I hope and pray you are strong and well. I know it's har. You are such an inspiration. God bless you!


St. Don of the Cross

jim said...

Hello Zareba, my fine friend, so good to hear your voice, don't you stay away so long again girl, you are a great writer and have much to say to the world that it needs, needs badly. Thanks so much for the visit, you are indeed special and I am grateful to know you.

I was raised a bit with an out-house and in such a situation, rugged and primitive, no heat, had to go out and get logs in the early morning to make a fire, then wait for the heat, in the cold.

Things were different in mind as well as in practical things like bathrooms and covered hallways, getting wet and staying cold, life was as good as now, just different.

You keep writing, I will keep reading, love always to you my dear, always..Jim.

Sophia said...

Happy July 5th! I say that because I didn't quite make it here on the 4th, but who says you can't have a good 5th? :)

Zareba said...

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. It keeps me writing to know that someone is reading and understanding and that I may be helping others in my own small way.

Don. I had a boo at your new poetry blog and really enjoyed. YOur writings make me think. Thank you.

Jim, what can I say? You always make me think, sometimes seeing things in a new light, sometimes clarifying things I already was convinced of. It is great that you are back. I hope you found what you were looking for and that you find the words to be able to convey it.

Sophia, thanks for the well wishes. Since I am in Canada, our holiday was July 1st. It matters not when the holiday is, it is great to see you here and I hope we can both be here more often. A belated happy 4th of July to you too. :-)

jim said...

Thanks Zareba, for the reply, I will try to find the words. I am glad to read here, of your location, Canada, I was just wondering about that while I read your latest post, I don't know where abouts there you live, city or rural, but consider posting a snapshot of your area if you can, I would be interested to connect my thoughts of you with place. I know it is no easy thing, I can barely get a picture of anything I want one of, so don't worry about it if it isn't to be, such is the way sometimes. Take care and thanks for the writings, the wisdom, the experience, and the understandings that you so generously share. Love and Peace always to you Zareba.

Zareba said...

Check you email, Jim. I began life in rural, north-central Ontario, moved to Toronto in my teens, moved to Halifax, N.S. in 1975 and finally to a rural setting again in 1986. Circuar or spiral...I'm not sure. ...Z