The Outhouse and the Spider

Lately I’ve been thinking about childhood memories. I moved into Grandma and Grandpa Butler’s house with my parents when I was seven. Having always lived in close suburbs of a city, I’d never been exposed to a outside toilet. This was the first surprise after making the big move.

PhotoScan (2)Grandma and Grandpa’s house had two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. These were arranged so that you could go around and around the house by walking through each room. The living room had a door which led onto a front porch, just a wooden slab with an overhang. This is where my grandparents spent most of their days. Just sitting, rocking, and watching the world go by. This picture was taken in the back yard. I don’t know who all the people are, but they must have been doing some work on the house…see the ladder?

Off the kitchen was a back door which led into the yard. There was an old cellar door, with a story I’ll tell you about another time and a pretty neat apple tree perfect for climbing when no one was looking. There was also a pump where we drew water. Farther out there was a wooden bridge which spanned a creek, known to overflow in unexpected flash floods. Next to the bridge was a barrel for burning trash and to the left of the barrel sat “the throne.”

This outhouse was wooden and looked exactly like what you’d expect. One story, not very wide, and flies buzzed all around it. Bees in the summertime. The door creaked when it opened and inside was a wooden bench with a big hole. The first time I saw it, I know my eyes must have become huge orbs of fear. How would I sit there without falling in? And what about the spider webs? I was terrified of spiders. One might be living right underneath that hole! And flies…yuck! Everyone knows flies bite.

But there was nowhere else to do one’s business. Back then, I can honestly say, I’d “hold it in” as long as possible, make short work of elimination, and a fast run back to the house.

One morning I awoke with an urge that couldn’t wait. I hurried outside and finished in record time. I ran back into the house and something made me look down. Crawling up my leg was this HUGE wolf spider. I screamed, bringing dad on the run, and I jumped into his arms, leaving my PJ bottoms behind. Not sure how that happened, but it’s the God’s honest truth. Dad killed the spider and saved the day and that became a story told throughout the years at family gatherings.

Children of the present time have no idea what they are missing by not having all the experiences I had as a child. There are so many memories that I’ve decided to change up my blog to tell these stories in hopes of bringing alive what it meant to be a kid in “those good old days.” I have a LOT of old pictures which I plan on sharing through these blog posts.

People then were full of heart, compassion and prayer was a way of life. I lived in “Dutch Hollow” for almost 11 years and I wouldn’t change a minute of the time spent there. I was blessed. Progress changed so much of the old bohemian homestead that it is barely recognizable. Hopefully through these posts, I can bring back a time of life worth remembering, share a smile, a tear, and even bring back a memory or two from your past.

Hope you’ll come back to read more stories soon. And please tell your friends to stop by!



The Outhouse and the Spider — 4 Comments

  1. I have those memories of the outhouse too. And the house my grandparents lived in sounds a lot like the one you described. There was an old concrete building behind the house, and we bathed out there in an old wash tub. They are fond memories and I know my grandkids will have their own memories, but there is something special about these.

    • Thanks so much for reading the blog post and commenting. Sounds like you have lots of wonderful memories of “those good old days” too!

  2. Thanks, Carol – Richard said we enjoyed the story and to “keep them coming”!! Showers every day would not have happened when I was growing up – — no shower for one thing – – – and we had to heat water in a big kettle on the kitchen wood-burning stove. During the week, yes, we “washed up” – – – but the bath was as Ann described above – – – in the kitchen – – by the stove – – – and in a big galvanized washtub. Richard said his baths were in a wash tub as well – – and they had to take turns – – there were 5 kids in the family over the years!! He also relates to the “outhouse” – – – he said he used to have to run outside during the night – – and then run doubly fast back inside – – – afraid someone would “grab him”!!

    • Oh, Gail, I loved reading your comment. I’m so glad I triggered some fun memories for you and Richard! Thanks so much for taking time to comment. I love reading comments so keep them coming, too! Wishing you a lovely evening.

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