Outhouses On Our Road

Well, get acquainted with your ancestors.

My road was re-made this last summer and while I sometimes cussed fate to have such a happening right at my front door, at other times it was downright hilarious.

One afternoon I called  my friend Marie DeNiro Davis Fairbank, who lives across the road, and we laughed like a couple of fools as we looked out our front windows and there, in front of  her lovely  home, shining brightly for all to see, including everyone in every passing car, and in vivid orange color, was today’s version of the old fashioned outhouse.

Now, several decades ago, when I came here to make my home, one could still find one or two of such backyard structures, and in fact, there was one in Gram’s vacant field, hidden by an old tall hedge of Lilac Bushes, and if you were curious and really looked closely, it wasn’t the only one that could be spotted, used, not used forgotten, in this area.

But today? ? ? Well, of course, it’s against the law, and not to be tolerated in any circumstance. (Ho, ho. Keep reading) but just the same for most of the summer there were several of those old time ‘conveniences’ right here, and could be seen from my window, Marie’s, everyone in any passing car.  And . . . there was no question that they were often and visibly well visited.

Of course, they were there as necessities for the many men who were re-making our road, but to such as Marie and I, it was still funny.  Yes, there are laws against such things, but just the same only a few feet from Marie’s well kept lawn and home that bright orange ‘small room’  stood, and I can well imagine the laughter that would have come from Marie’s parents, Joe and Helen Clay DeNiro, if they had been still with us to see the things.

The men working on the re=make of our road took such structures quite casually.  They are just something that ‘comes with the job’ and would dare anyone to question its position, and I love it.  Well, not exactly IT, but the circumstances that require IT being there. I must be easily amused, but I grinned.

And funnier still, there was one long, long day during the re-make, when the culinary water in several  homes  had to be turned OFF, and we were cautioned  that circumstances just might force them to keep it OFF for perhaps as long as eight or so hours.  I laughed to myself as I wondered what would be people’s reaction if a few of those bright orange conveniences were to be re-located for the day in our driveways? ? ?

Now everyone, including me and Marie would  have been aghast at such a happening, but just the same, it would  have been just as logical as all the others along the road, and also just as funny.  And, dang it, I betcha it wouldn’t have been just Marie and me who would have laughed, either.

Don’t tell me life isn’t one big joke.

Now, the following vignette really has nothing to with the story of my road re-make, but it’s true, does tell of Jordan River, not too far away, and is also too good to be lost.  So, again, stay with me.

I remember as a 10  or 11 hear old, going to visit a school friend who lived west on 3900 South, and still vividly recall my shock and surprise to see that 3900 South dead-ended right there at the edge of the River.  And there was no way to get across it at that point, either.  Dead end.  Period.  Zilch.

And as all this was going on before there was plumbing in all the  homes,  those living in almost every home along the river . . . on both sides . . . built their outside toilets so that they hung over the river.  Absolutely.

I do hope the Jordan was used for transportation only, but when I visited with kids who lived in such homes, and in such places, I was too scared to use their ‘bathrooms’.

And in places where there was no handy river, there were dozens of canals criss-crossing the valley, and, sorry to say, but they were used in the very same manner, and is why parents insisted their children never play or swim in the canals or ditches. 

Oh me. Those were still pioneer days for many a family.

One thought on “Outhouses On Our Road

  1. Great article. I remember Big Cottonwood Creek, down at the bottom of Mill Race Lane, was where you would want to Get Out of the river and end the inner tube float trip. About 1960. We won’t name names, but right along there were pipes of sewage dumping into the river. It was nasty.

    Thinking back, there was probably sewage dumped in the river upstream, and we just didn’t notice it, since the run of the river was free of homes from 9th east clear up to 13th east.

    yeah the good old days . . .

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