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Posted by: pollythinks ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 06:16PM

Have you every had the experience of "doing your business" in an outhouse?

Well, I have--at my grandmother's house in Kaysville, Utah-- some distance from better known areas of Utah...and it definitely was not fun!

Generally speaking, there were two hole sizes to sit on--one for adults, and a much smaller one for the little children (so they wouldn't fall in).

They used Sears catalogues for toilet paper.


When indoor bathrooms were invented, my grandfather (different from the Kaysville grandmother) in-fanatically announced he wouldn't haves such a dirty thing inside HIS house!

(Times, they are a-changing.)

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Posted by: ziller ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 06:22PM

in b 4 ~ LOL ~ ziller's fam outhouses were two stories tall ~

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 06:23PM

Yes, I've used outhouses. I can't remember where. Maybe at summer camp, and summer campgrounds?

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Posted by: dumbmormons ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 06:54PM

Mining country with steep hills we had 2 story outhouses. Walk out of the house on the hill and a walkway on stilts to the second story two holer with a big piece of wood at an angle so the pee & Poop would slide to the back and then fall behind the wall to the bottom. First floor was lower on the steep hill and used by the next house. Not a real thrill sitting in the lower one and hearing the boom as the one above dropped on the wood over your head.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 07:05PM

I have an outhouse story...

I spent three summer vacations in Nacozari, Sonora. Yes, the Jose Garcia, heroe de Nacozari, Nacozari... These were the summers of my 10th, 11th and 12th years on this planet. My mom would drive us to Douglas, AZ and we'd take the train from Agua Prieta to Nacozari.

Nacozari is/was a mining town. My grandpa Olddog owned some silver mines, but they played out and then it became a copper mining town, so it was heavily populated with Americans and Europeans, which meant that it looked a lot more 'modern' than your typical Mexican small town. I stayed with my great aunt Patricia Kaldman. She was married to a very German-looking gentleman, born of immigrant parents from Germany. They lived in a very European-looking house, on a very Western culture street. Mom would drop me off in early June and come pick me up around the middle of August. I always had a great time.

The second summer I jumped off the train and picked right will all the friends I'd made the previous year.

The third summer my Uncle Ruben was with us. I was clueless, but I later learned he'd come down because my dad had engineered a possible union between Uncle Ruben and an old friend of his with three unmarried daughters. Ruben was there to meet them. They and their parents lived in Cumpas, Sonora, a REAL Mexican town about 20 miles further south. My mom dragged me along.

All the old homes in Cumpas had outhouses. And the house we stayed at also had a lot of poultry. Poultry means domesticated birds. I knew all about chickens. I did not have any real knowledge of turkeys...

The first couple of times I used the outhouse, it was just to pee. Then that first day, in the early evening, I went out to use the outhouse for a reason other than simple urination. I manned up, held my breath and did my business. I have no recollection of what paper product was available.

Then I exited and started walking back to the house. A big ass tom turkey attacked me. Luckily I had no shit to be scared out of. I'm not a cry-baby, so I didn't say anything to anybody about the fear of feathers that I now had. But I did not use that outhouse again. I peed wherever was handy and just held it for two days until we returned to Nacozari.

I never once had to use an outhouse while in Mexico on my mission. Also, I'm no longer afraid of tom turkeys. I just want to set that record straight.

...also, my Uncle Ruben married Olga, the youngest of the three sisters, daughters of the outhouse owner. They were married for close to 55 years.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 09:24PM

Great, well-told story.

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Posted by: ptbarnum ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 01:54PM

Yes! What a story! I, too, have experienced the feathery rage of Sir Butterball as a child. I am...sort of...over it now, lol.

I lived in Douglas, AZ, for about a year. I went to Cochise Community College and found an excellent friend who took me to her Nana's house in Agua Prieta for the weekend. Nana taught me how to make proper tamales while I told her Scottish and Irish faerie stories that I'd learned from my Grandpa, and we exchanged multicultural family-traditional Gaelic and Spanish cuss phrases . Nana especially liked "May the cat eat you, and the devil eat the cat."

I'd honestly never eaten so much and so well in my life until then, my friend and her family felt I was on the skinny side. We had very nice indoor plumbing there in town, and Nana showed me a hot oil treatment and vinegar rinse that utterly transformed my hair. I still use it.

We were supposed to go back a few months later during spring shearing and visit friend's uncle's farm farther south, which I was warned did have outhouses. I was totally okay with this, having much previous outhouse (and port-a-potty, and dig-your-own latrine) experience, from a cotton farm I grew up on near Buckeye. My father had John Birched his taxes and been garnished for it, so the family ended up living pretty rough in an old farm manager's shack. We got to live there in exchange for not complaining about the amenities and my cop father provided security/muscle. The farm was in the process of industrializing, so we went from two-holer to porta potty with a brief dig-it phase, then finally full on plumbing over the course of a few years. Woo hoo! Good times.

But I digress. My friend and I were both keen to learn Mexican weaving techniques and were going to spin some of Tio's fleeces into yarn and learn from a lady in the town nearby the farm who was interested in apprentices to preserve her art tradition. There was a lot of rain and flash flooding the week before we were supposed to go and Tio called it off. "Not fit out here for ladies," he insisted, "the shearers are all crammed in, it's messy." I assume this had something to do with the outhouses, two 19-year-old girls, and a bunch of itinerant working men sharing close quarters. Much disappointment on my part. I had to wait 15 more years to learn that technique and moved back to Flagstaff and back under my horrendous father's influence shortly after that. Worst part: going back to eating American food. I still have my dear friend, she lives in Hermosillo with her family now. Nana continued to write me right up until she passed on.

Your story brought back so many good memories. Maybe not so much in terms of turkey rage, but it's crazy what the memory of a stinky backyard bathroom will stir up. Looking back, I understand my friend and her family sensed the brokenness in me caused by my abusive background. They kind of enfolded and adopted me for that short time and gave me a little taste of normal family.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 08:30PM

1. In Vermont at camp
2. In Iowa at a party
3. On my stepfather's family's farm in Virginia. They didn't have indoor plumbing until the '80s. Yup. The 1980s - maybe the '90s.

Soooo, the outhouse was near the hog pen. I went near the hogs thinking, "Wilbur!" They charged me and I was like, "NOT Wilbur!"

We had chamber pots and the whole nine yards. There was a cold water tap in the kitchen and we heated water in a kettle on the stove and poured it into a galvanized tub, and that's how you took a bath. Standing in a galvanized tub in your bedroom trying to keep the water off the floor before the water got cold.

This was the EIGHTIES! How can you coif big hair under those conditions? Horrific I tell you! Horrific!

Meh. I got used to it and it wasn't so bad.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2019 08:32PM by Beth.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 09:03PM

It had been there for a long time and I never used that one, but some of the people who hoed beets with us did. A lot closer than walking over to the house.

When I was young, there were many old out houses. My mother's friend's parents had one at their home behind LaGoon.

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 09:18PM

I've used outhouses and all sorts of things. In Vietnam, we had outhouses with 55-gallon drums cut in half to collect the waste. Since nobody wanted to deal with the mess, they were ignored until overflowing. Then somebody finds some TDY sap and orders him to drag the filled-to-the-brim mess out and burn it.

I did that a few times. You pour diesel all over it, and soak some newspapers in fuel, then ignite then to get the drums aflame. Then you stir and stir, add more diesel, stir, and stir, add more fuel, and so on. Once I had eight of these concoctions burning at one time. Took all day to burn the cr*p down to ashes.

We typically used newspaper. I've also used yellow pages in country outhouses.

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Posted by: southbound ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 09:20PM

Have one up where we pasture our cow herd in the hills. Comes in very handy When we spend the day up there checking cows and such.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 09:22PM

Ya. Many. Of course.

There’s nothing like being eight or nine and visiting the Saskatchewan farm from the city and being told in the middle of the night, in the Winter, that, no, poops are for outside, in the outhouse, no ifs ands or buts.

No matter how much I envied my farm cousins their go-carts and dirt bikes, I didn’t envy them that.

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Posted by: normdeplume ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 09:44PM

pollythinks Wrote:
> there were two hole sizes to > sit on--one for adults, and a much smaller one for> the little children (so they wouldn't fall in). > They used pages from the Sears catalogues for (the fodder.)

Memories over centuries

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Posted by: saucie ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 10:12PM

Out houses are against my religion... one visit as a child at the Kern River camping spot was enough to turn me off to them. I vowed to never use them again and I have steadfacidly obeyed.

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Posted by: zelf the apostate ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 10:29PM

Grandma had an outhouse til 1985. I remember it well.

A song from MY hymn book:

"Please don't burn out outhouse down,
Mother wants it to stay,
father's o'er the ocean blue,
Sisters in a family way...

This old lad has gone astray,
times are getting hard,
and if you burn our outhouse down...
we'll have to shit in the yard."

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Posted by: Hervey Willets ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 11:12PM

At some scout camps in the '70s, but also in metropolitan Philadelphia. My grandparents house, a small row home, had been built in 1908. Indoor plumbing still something of a luxury, except for the upper brackets. No bathroom, but there had been a small privy in the back yard. They had had a full bathroom installed in 1948, long before I was born. But Great-grandfather's house, a few blocks away, was not so up-to date. Municipal ordinances, I think in the '30's, had insisted on the privy being replaced with a flush toilet, but it was still in a shed in the yard. 5 year old me thought that was great, no need to stop playing to go inside and do your business. I'm sure the house has been renovated since then, but there's probably some holdout in this great city.

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Posted by: Lethbridge Reprobate ( )
Date: December 27, 2019 11:23PM

We had one in the farmyard..used it for When my parents got married, mom moved out of a home in town with running water and indoor plumbing to a chilly old farmhouse with none of those luxuries...and didn't get a new "modern" house until dad built the new one 9 years later.

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Posted by: caffiend ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 12:22AM

Eisenhower and Khrushchev were having a summit meeting. During a break from official discussions, they lapsed into small talk, and tried to impress each other with how they related to ordinary working men.

Khrushchev said he grew up on a farm and had to shove out the barn. "I really got to hate cow sh*t," he admitted.
Eisenhower answered, "I grew up in Kansas, and we raised pigs, Pig sh*t is much worse than cow sh*t."
"Yes," Khrushchev retorted, "But you had indoor plumbing...I didn't. Nothing worse than shoveling human sh*t."

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 12:25AM

When my Grandpa was foreman of a large ranch in our area, a residence on the property was provided for him and Grandma.

Although the house had a flush toilet, there was also an outhouse near the barn which I used sometimes.

I thought it was kind of neat.

It felt like, when I was in there, I was able travel back to the 1800s, so it became my own, personal, imaginary time machine--which added a lot of felt texture later, when I was in school and I read certain time travel stories.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2019 12:27AM by Tevai.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 03:56AM

My grandparents had inside .plumbing, but there was an old outhouse on the property too. We kids thought it was fun to use.We played Little House on the Prairie. Of course we used them in the mountains too

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Posted by: tumwater ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 12:15PM

I'm very familiar with outhouses, my grandfather's house never had a flush toilet or running water until after he died in 1963.

But my favorite story is the season I worked in Alaska on a road construction project in 1967.

I was the materials inspector on the government side of the project performing compaction tests, sieve analysis etc.

One week a fellow from the Juneau office came up for an inspection trip. Near lunch time he needed to use the facilities.

A few minutes later he came out and asked if we had a shovel or rake he could borrow. Of course we had and asked why he needed it.

He said, he had taken his coat off to do his business and when he stood up his coat fell into the hole.

We all gagged and said forget it, the coat's ruined.

He said he knew that but his lunch was still in the pocket.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 12:32PM

Hello. Outhouses are still everywhere.

Every porta-potty at every construction site and outdoor concert or festival venue is a self-contained outhouse.

Trailheads and national and state parks routinely have outhouses.


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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 12:35PM

Get thee behind me, voix de la raison!

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 04:22PM

The ones on trailheads are typically concrete, which makes them pretty close to the proverbial brick shithouse.

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Posted by: snagglepuss ( )
Date: January 01, 2020 01:19AM

I witnessed a port-a-potty dump over in a really stiff wind with a guy inside frantically trying to get out. Nope, didn't make it.

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Posted by: momjeans ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 12:56PM

I knew another old guy in the late 50's whose kids built him a new house to live in. Of course it had indoor plumbing and he had the same reaction OP's grandfather did--could not imagine doing anything so disgusting as shitting in your own house.

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Posted by: jojo ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 01:17PM

Back in the sixties when I was a youngster, there was a very obesed lady who worked in the barbecue restaurant in town. She had to turn sideways to get through a door. Well, she and her husband had a outhouse. It was an old one and one day it caved in with her in it. Her husband couldn't get her out so he went for help. Word got around quickly and people started congregating to see for themselves. The men tried everything they could think of to get her out but she was firmly stuck in shit. They finally decided to use a tractor. Even the tractor struggled for the front wheels reared up but she finally broke loose and was pulled out. She was the topic of conversations for weeks.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 02:16PM

People probably used that event to peg things in time.

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Posted by: bobofitz ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 03:19PM


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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 02:22PM

Yes. Frequently at forrest service camps when I was a youngster. I remember that they always stank!

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Posted by: laperla not logged in ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 02:33PM

Keeps the flies down too. Big open windows looking over the valley distract you. I use it when camping on a friend's land.

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Posted by: antonymous ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 03:53PM

On Kilimanjaro they dig out pits and cap it with a concrete slab with a hole. It's not generally a problem, but due to the immense demands of manual labour (no power tools) at high altitude they wait until the pit is virtually overflowing before they dig another. We happened to visit right at "max. capacity".
It made the US desert and mountain long drops a pleasure to use in comparison.

On a side note, here in the UK a lot of out houses didn't move that far indoors. Many from the 30's through the 60's were simply joined onto the house with a short covered passageway (pun intended).


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Posted by: silvergenie ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 05:09PM

The old outdoor dunny, brings back some great memories of my childhood in Kalgoorlie Western Australia in the 1940's.

These outdoor dunnies which backed onto a service lane, always stank to high heaven despite regular applications of phenol, which had a horrible smell of its own. Strips of sticky flypaper hung from the ceiling but there were just not enough of them to cope with the cloud of flies that made the dunny a spider’s paradise.

Apart from spiders you were always apprehensive as to what else might be lurking inside, (and in some cases outside). In hindsight, I’m sure that many of the residents of Piccadilly Street would have much preferred an encounter with the odd snake, racehorse goanna or red back spider rather than what some of us little kids dished out.

Every now and then, especially when my cousins visited, several of us neighbourhood kids (the oldest would have been about six), would arm ourselves with sticks and head for the dunny can lane. Stifling our giggles, we’d creep silently along lifting the flaps of all the dunnies until we came across one with a bare bottom showing above the can. A quick and totally unexpected jab with a stick to the bare bum would always elicit a reaction that would have us doubled up and screaming with laughter.

Of course, being very young, we never had the sense to stop right there and then, we’d always go onto the next dunny and try our luck again. But the raucous screams and bad language of someone who has just been poked in the bum, together with our childish laughter was quite an effective early warning system. Very soon, there’d nearly always be someone waiting behind a partly opened gate ready to belt the living daylights out of us, but only if they could catch us which luckily, they never did.

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Posted by: oldpobot ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 06:14PM

Yes the famous outdoor dunny. Reference Slim Dusty's 'Redback on the toilet seat' - very famous song. The fear of a fatal spider bite on the ass was a constant childhood companion.

The poor 'night soil' porter who used to walk along that service lane swapping out the full toilet cans for empty ones. Not a great job.

At least the winter night visits weren't too bad, compared to some of the Northern Hemisphere locations.

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Posted by: normdeplume ( )
Date: December 28, 2019 11:31PM

oldpobot Wrote:
> Yes the famous outdoor dunny. Reference Slim
> Dusty's 'Redback on the toilet seat'

Having travelled those outbacks on a bike with a hat, white shirt and tie, I can attest to the reality of the adventure described in the words of this song.

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Posted by: ptbarnum ( )
Date: December 29, 2019 01:16AM

I could handle my native Arizona outhouse bugs, even the occasional scorpion, but seriously could NOT handle thoughts of lurking redbacks and the snakes of Australia...yikes!!! If I saw a big huntsman hanging out in there, the toilet would be useless. I don't care they aren't poisonous, it's those LEGS! I wouldn't be able to do the necessary!

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Posted by: silvergenie ( )
Date: December 29, 2019 04:39PM

ptbarnum Wrote:
> I could handle my native Arizona outhouse bugs,
> even the occasional scorpion, but seriously could
> NOT handle thoughts of lurking redbacks and the
> snakes of Australia...yikes!!! If I saw a big
> huntsman hanging out in there, the toilet would be
> useless. I don't care they aren't poisonous, it's
> those LEGS! I wouldn't be able to do the
> necessary!

As a child what scared me most about the outdoor dunny was not the thought of spiders or snakes. Yes they were certainly scary, but the worst thing was the thought that I might come across a six foot racehorse goanna perched on the seat.

Luckily that never happened, but I still have vivid memories of mum going down to sweep out our underground air raid shelter. She'd only been down there for about 30 seconds when there was a god-almighty scream and the broom came flying out followed by a very large and very angry racehorse goanna and in third place my very pregnant and hysterical mother screaming that she was never ever going to go back down there no matter how many bombs were falling around us.

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Posted by: Beth ( )
Date: January 01, 2020 07:52PM

racehorse goanna - I google that thing. Do not like.

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Posted by: dumbmormons ( )
Date: December 29, 2019 01:48PM

A song about the Outhouse.

As mentioned, Winter is its own special experience.

Then in warm weather a whole host of other problems.

Black Widow spiders often lurk beneath the throne. Women sit and no problem. Guys sit and invade the space - and a Bite can be the result.

Many a country Doctor has treated Black Widow bites on a penis. At one time that was the leading spot for Black Widow spider bites. Indoor plumbing has changed that.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: December 31, 2019 07:12AM

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Posted by: mikemitchell ( )
Date: December 31, 2019 07:43AM

Today's teens will never experience the late night adventure of putting a jerk farmer's outhouse onto the roof of his barn.

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Posted by: snagglepuss ( )
Date: January 01, 2020 01:17AM

"Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back" by Billy Edd Wheeler...and "The Interstate is Comin' Through My Outhouse" by the same guy.

Camping in Northern Californa between Portola and Susanville. Ancient two-holer with really grey dried out aged wooden seat. The splinters were a pain....

When I was a kid, back when the Forest Rangers were jovial guys who didn't carry rifles around and Smokey the Bear gave me Tonka Trucks at our campsites like Santa Claus, I was deathly afraid of falling through the cold metal seats in the bottomless chemical toilets to the bottom of that pit all by myself.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: January 01, 2020 11:22AM

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Posted by: tumwater ( )
Date: January 01, 2020 02:31PM

Another item:

My Dad said that everyone was excited when the new Sears and/or Wards catalog would show up when he was growing up over 90 years ago.

The old catalog would be cut in half, across the middle, and the two halves would be nailed to the wall in the outhouse.

Because the pages were somewhat slick, you'd rip off a couple of sheets, crumble them up and rub them together. That would make the sheets softer and more absorbent.

Long lost country wisdom.

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