Al's Rantings

A view of the world from a hillbilly perspective.

Location: Virginia

I was born and went to school in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, in southern West Virginia. After graduating from college, I got married, and began working in Bristol, TN. I have have various jobs from Tennessee to up state New York and a few points between. Now I work in West Virginia. Some day, I want to live in Alaska.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Outhouses of my youth...

After reading this post by Buzzardbilly about outhouses, I knew I had to share my experiences on this subject.

Both sets of my grandparents had outhouses when I was youngster in the late 60s and early 70s. This is easy to understand for my Dad’s mom and dad. After all, they lived in the perceived backward land of Wyoming county, West Virginia. They lived on the main road between Mullens and Pineville in a little community of New Richmond. But my Mom’s mom and dad lived in Crab Orchard, West Virginia. In Raleigh county, close to the big city (at least I considered it big) of Beckley. How could they live so close to Beckley and still have an outhouse?

I hated going to the outhouse. I did not know it then, but now I know that spiders, really like hanging out in these cool and dark places. And the smell of an outhouse on a hot summer evening was just awful. No ventilation, no air flow, and sitting on top of pounds and pounds of stewing human waste…almost more than a boy could stand!

The other thing I remember most about the outhouse was the “plop plop” sounds made when taking a dump.

After kicking the sides of the seat a couple of times to see if any spiders crawled out, I would carefully sit on the hole and hurry to get business done. I always held on tightly for fear of falling in! That fate was always on my mind as way the fear of dropping something down the hole. The other past time while taking care of business was to scan the entire insides of the outhouse looking for the creepy crawlies that were omnipresent in the tiny building.

Some observations about my grandparent’s outhouses. Neither had a half-moon cut out in the door. No lights. No heat. No Sears catalogue for reading or as a wiping medium. No padded seat, you sit right down on wood. Nothing fancy, but very functional.

It is strange, but now-a-days, people will use of Port-a-Potty at and not blink an eye. To me this is nothing but a fancy, portable, and colorful Outhouse. The kind of thing that was once made fun of by city folk.