I don’t remember how the subject came up, but a couple of weeks ago my grandson asked me “Where do you go to the bathroom if the house doesn’t have one?” It must have been in some book he was reading where the character went outside to go to the bathroom. I said “Oh those are outhouses.” He didn’t understand. I told him that there were large holes in the ground with toilet seats on top of them. But they were in this little building out back of the house. I realized that at this point I wasn’t sure what I was talking about. I was really describing the latrines at Girl Scout Camp (which I despised). The look of horror and revulsion on his face was priceless. “Don’t say that Mamoo, that’s disgusting!” He thought I was kidding. And being gross.
It wasn’t that long ago that outhouses were maybe not commonplace, but everyone had heard of them. We used to vacation in a cabin in Vermont when I was a kid. And it was a real cabin, not a luxury home. One of the neighbors down by the lake had an outhouse. I thought it was cool. The idea of it, that is. Not to actually use it.
And then I thought about chamber pots. I used to think what a good idea that must have been…how cute they look. Well, maybe if you had servants they were a good idea. And if you aimed well.
That reminded me about one day babysitting my nephews. They used to go camping with my brother and his wife. I have no personal experience with this because I would rather sleep in a cold bathtub with music I hate blaring at me for 48 hours straight than spend the night in the woods (not counting GS Camp which was in lean-tos). At any rate, I was at their house one day and the boys were playing in the backyard. All of a sudden they each ran to a tree and started to urinate on the trees. I ran outside yelling What are you doing???? They said that they learned to go to the bathroom outside when they were camping. Oh boy.
I proceeded to explain the difference between a camping trip in the woods with your parents and peeing on the trees in the backyard while cars are driving by. When you’re outside you must come inside to go to the bathroom. My oldest nephew just looked at me and said…..
“But you use a porta potty at my soccer games.”
Yes, yes I do.