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Memory Monday-Smoking in the Outhouse

Memory Monday-Smoking in the Outhouse

Memory Monday-It’s a thing…

I think I’ve mentioned I used to use an outhouse when I was a little girl. We had running water in our house, but no bathroom. Grandpa and his friends remodeled the house in the early 1980s and added a bathroom. Until the remodel, we used an outhouse near the edge of the back yard. In case you don’t know what an outhouse is: it’s a permanent Port-a-Potty built over a deep hole in the ground where you do your business. Ours had a tall seat for the adults and a smaller, lower seat for the kids. We had a detached building we called the “pump house” where we took showers. The pump house got the name because it’s where our water pump is.

Going to the bathroom at night could be an adventure. Plus, I don’t even want to talk about the spiders! While I remember using the outhouse, other members of my family have better memories of the outhouse. Here’s a story told to me by my Aunt Sue:

“We used to go out to the outhouse and smoke. We thought we were hiding, but the smoke would roll out of the cracks between the boards. Grandma gave me a coffee can full of water one day when some of the other kids were in there smoking. I don’t even remember who was in there, but she gave me the can of water and told me to go throw it on the outhouse. She told me to pretend like I thought it was on fire. I did and as soon as I threw the can of water on the outhouse, I ran back to Grandma so they wouldn’t whip me. I knew Grandma would save me.”

I asked Sue if she knew the smoke came out of the cracks why she went out there to smoke when she was older. She laughed and said, “Well, I don’t know. We just did.”

I talked a little about not being able to tell if a memory is a true memory or built on hearing a story over and over in Kurt’s Motorcycle.  This is another great example. I remember hearing this story as a kid, but always thought it was my mother who threw the water on the outbuilding. I would have written this as my mother tossing the water on the outhouse if I hadn’t talked to Aunt Sue. Still, I enjoy hearing stories about my great grandparents since I never knew them. The “grandma” Aunt Sue was referring to would be my great-grandmother Nora Adkins.

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About Marsha Blevins, Author

Marsha Blevins lives in West Virginia with her boyfriend and six fur-children. She earned her B.A. in English with a concentration on writing from Marshall University. Two of her short stories and several poems were published in the university’s literary magazine, Et Cetera. She is an active member of the writing group Wicked Wordsmiths of the West and WV Writers. Follow her at www.marbleswords.com on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marbleswords, on Twitter @marbleswords.

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