Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Two Shoes Tuesday # 14 -- "Light(s)"

I was going to write on several aspects of light. First would be 'no light.' Then lights in general followed by lights of old cars and for sure house lights. Probably there could be more.  Christmas lights and tree lights for sure.

But Father Time got hold of me and so I will just write about an episode in my life where there were not lights.

The condition resulting from having 'no lights,' natural or artificial, is 'darkness.'  Did you know that dogs DO NOT SEE very well in the dark?  I had to prove that to Mrs. Jim as she thought that if cats could see in the dark then so could dogs.  But they can't.

My story: When I was growing up on the farm, we did not have electricity until 1938. That was the year my younger sister, Lois was born.

Lois was trouble as soon as she was too old to be sleeping in Mom and Dad's bedroom. Our house only had two bedrooms, upstairs. At first there was one for my parents and one for me.

After Lois came she needed the bedroom that I had and so I was relegated to the front porch which was to be used as my sleeping room. Just a sleeping room. In the daytime my bed was put back as a studio couch and with the rockers and the other chairs our front porch was a place to hang out in the evenings. It was screened to keep the bugs out and also had storm windows for the winter to keep the winds out. But it got cold out there.

Yes, we had electricity and there were two lights hanging on the back side of the porch attached to the house wall. So I had light.

We also got an inside bathroom that year. It had a tub, a toilet, and a sink. And a closet for my clothes. We still took showers out on the back porch though. Now instead of a bucket of warmed water to bath with we had a real shower hose attached to the faucet used to fill the washing machine. We shared that part of the back porch with Mom's old Maytag machine.

Dad did not like us using the toilet in the bathroom either because it meant cleaning out the cesspool more often (the sink, toilet, and tub drained into the cesspool). 

Helping the cesspool, the porch shower water ran outside into the back yard through a hole in the wall at floor level. When we weren't showering we put a big round wooden plug into the hole to keep snakes out. But we couldn't run any toilet water out into the back yard.

The 'light' story

So we were supposed to use the outhouse (outside toilet in a little house) that we had used before.  It was out behind the chicken house in the grove. If only company were to use the inside toilet and our family always used the outhouse we would probably never have to clean the cesspool out again. I don't think we did either.

The problem at night was that it was dark going out to the outhouse. I can't remember if I was afraid of the dark or just pretended to be. But at any rate I can remember convincing Lois always to walk with me at night, in the dark, out to the outhouse.

We may have had flashlights but not one to use going out there. They were saved for working in the dark or fixing things at night. I suppose that Lois also used the outhouse while we were out there. I don't remember that part..

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Too bad the tree fell on it. Of course no one was inside, just a whole lot of memories left there waiting.
You can buy a brand new one in kit form for around $449.00.
Go here
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This outhouse we had was a two holer. I don't remember anytime that there were two people in there together.
Then why were there two holes? I may answer in a few days. Or you can furnish me with one.
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This posting is for this week's round of Two Shoes Tuesday... a place to share what we enjoy doing most... writing! Each week we have a one-word writing prompt and are asked by Josie to share a short story, poem, essay, thought, or photo relating to that topic.
The writing prompt for Tuesday, December 4th, is "light"
 
You can find other light blogging here, at Josie's blog:
http://www.josie2shoes.com/2012/12/two-shoes-tuesday-14-lights.html

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Comments:
My family heritage is all Southern. I grew up with lots of outhouse stories, including spiders & snakes. But, you do what you have to do in life, don't you?
By the way, my story is true...Bill hung the wreath for me. He is back on the road.
 
What a fun trip down memory lane, while our house had indoor plumbing growing up, several of my friends lived out in the country and did not. Late night winter trips to the outhouse were spooky fun, and you are right, no one used flashlights, you just kind of followed the path and hoped nothing jumped out of the trees to get you! :-) We also had a small cabin on a lake and that had an outhouse for the first few years until my father had a bathroom put in. It was a two-holer as well! My husband also spent his nights as a child in East Texas sleeping out on the porch in the open air with his grandpa, he has wonderful memories of falling asleep with the stars, buried under a pile of warm quilts! Life was a lot harder back then, but in some ways so much more down to earth and healthier, both physically and mentally! Great post Jim!
 
We had lights and indoor plumbing and each of us had our own room. I'm guessing I was lucky, but I was born in 1951. Interesting post, and I'm glad I didn't have to go to a outhouse in the middle of the night.

Have a terrific day. :)
 
The two holer may be from the days when there was just a bucket underneath and when that was full you used used the other one? This is a lovely reminiscence and brought back a host of lavatorial memories for me. I used to like the flushing cisterns high on the wall; there was never any need to wait for second flush, one was always enough and how satisfying to pull that chain!
 
Memories from the good, old days which were closer to Mother Nature, Dr Jim :)
 
I think all little sisters are afraid of the dark and need their big brothers to shine the light on them....
 
This may be a random thing to say but I have recently begun watching the television show 'Revolution' which takes place in a future time when all electricity has ceased working...hence no more light. Anyway, this post reminded me of it :)
 
Well Jim I have to say that is an interesting story - I loved hearing about your upbringing. I think you should write it in a book or something. I was a little after you. While I have used an out house - I never had one. But I love hearing about it. Personally I love it dark!

sandie
 
ha mr. jim....a whole lot of memories, eh?...a whole lot of memories of reading the sears catalogue!
thank you for your visit and i will try to get back at you more often...i think of adi all the time and i miss her so much..how could you love so much a little doggie like that even though i never met her[except the few times she flew to canada and our house with a whole plane full of blogger pets!]...she was so much part of the family!....love terry
 

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