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Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz

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Blogs by Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz

In Remembrance of Outhouses
5/5/2008 9:49:08 PM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

I really cannot recall exactly when Daddy added the luxury of electricity, but I do recall being quite impressed with my daddy’s innovative modernization of that little-house-out-behind-the-house.

 

In my last blog, I mentioned how poor my family was when I was growing up back in rural Georgia. Ironically perhaps, my brother, Bud, and I were discussing this very topic just the other day—our impoverished childhood. The funny thing, however, as he and I both agreed, was how we never thought of ourselves as poor (at least not until we began school, made friends, and visited their homes), perhaps because we realized we were considerably better off than the family that lived about a half mile up the road in the curve of the road. After all, we had coal heat and they had to chop firewood. Our dogs were fat and sleek; theirs were skinny and mangy. We each had a bicycle (albeit hand-me-downs from richer cousins) while those kids shared one dilapidated old Huffy upon which they had to take turns. And, to top everything off, we had electricity in our outhouse. Granted, it was one lone 60-watt bulb over the doorway, but it was electricity just the same.

 

Now I am sure that many of you did not have outhouses when you were growing up. In fact, many of you have probably never even seen an outhouse, that is, except perhaps in movies like Deliverance; however, trust me, outhouses were not uncommon in rural Georgia prior to the 70’s, which was when my parents finally added a bathroom onto that little house on Vickers Road.

 

I clearly recall our outhouse. It was down the hill in back of the house and to the left of Daddy’s cornfield, so that if one was inclined to leave the door open (for ventilation), one could watch the cornstalks’ golden tassels wave in the balmy breezes of summer or listen to those same cornstalks, now withered and brown, rattle in the frigid winds of winter. Moreover, our outhouse had two seats (something I never really understood since going to the outhouse was a private affair and not exactly a shared activity); and, just over the doorway, was the electric light. It was sheltered by a little metal cap of some kind; and the switch to turn the light on was in the house, which meant that when one visited the outhouse at night, one had to remember to flip the switch beside the backdoor or else find oneself in the dark when one reached one’s destination. Not that there had always been a light, given I can remember a time when one’s making that nocturnal journey down that hill in the dark involved one’s carrying a flashlight; and I really cannot recall exactly when Daddy added the luxury of electricity, but I do recall being quite impressed with my daddy’s innovative modernization of that little-house-out-behind-the-house.  

 

Now, in looking back on those days, I sometimes wonder just why it is that people today think they need so many bathrooms in their houses. There are even some who think they need a private bathroom for each and every member of the family. Come on, folks, what’s wrong with sharing a bathroom? In fact, most houses circa 1975 (an educated guess on my part) had only one bathroom and everyone shared it (well, except for houses in movies, which didn’t count). I mean, you tell me; does each and every kid in a family really need his or her own bathroom to mess up every day of the week? Does the dog? The cat? And do bathrooms have to be so downright huge. Many today, in fact, are considerably larger than the house where I grew up. Plus, do they have to contain dressing rooms, state-of-the-art lighting, Jacuzzis, Whirlpools, walk-in closets, and heated toilet seats?

 

Not that I think we should return to using outhouses (they did have their drawbacks, namely the flies), yet, on the other hand, I do think people today have lost complete sight of what a bathroom is supposed to be—a functional, utilitarian room wherein one can bath and take care of “private” matters. I also think the bathrooms of today are symbolic of many things that are wrong with our modern society, for example, its unabashed materialism. Plus, maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t help but think that today’s overly luxurious and often ostentatious bathrooms say something quite sad about where our priorities lie as a nation.



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More Blogs by Carol Culver Rzadkiewicz
• Have You Ever Wondered? - Monday, February 08, 2010
• Students Write the Darnedest Things - Thursday, December 17, 2009
• Random Brain Droppings - Saturday, November 07, 2009
• To Twitter or not to Twitter, That Is the Question. - Monday, June 29, 2009
• Levy "Sin" Taxes on Actual Sins - Thursday, May 14, 2009
• What's New in My World? - Sunday, April 05, 2009
• To Blog or Not to Blog? - Sunday, March 08, 2009
• New Year's Predictions for 2009 - Thursday, January 01, 2009
• Christmas 2008 - Saturday, December 27, 2008
• What I Learn from the Newspaper - Thursday, December 11, 2008
• Totally Inane Messages - Monday, December 01, 2008
• Is America a "Civilized" Nation - Saturday, November 29, 2008
• What Thanksgiving Means - Wednesday, November 26, 2008
• Autumn, Sarah Palin, & Cultural Literacy - Sunday, November 09, 2008
• Thank You, America - Tuesday, November 04, 2008
• The Perfect Husband - Friday, October 24, 2008
• Sarah Who? - Monday, October 06, 2008
• Rats Abandoning a Sinking Ship - Friday, September 26, 2008
• Why Do So Many Students Detest Reading? - Monday, September 22, 2008
• What's in a Name? - Saturday, September 13, 2008
• Waiting for Gustav - Sunday, September 07, 2008
• It's Time for Change - Friday, August 29, 2008
• George Washington, He Ain't - Saturday, August 23, 2008
• More Money Than Common Sense - Friday, August 15, 2008
• The Loss of the Ability to Communicate - Thursday, August 14, 2008
• The Wonders of Modern Technology - Sunday, August 10, 2008
• Water, Water, Everywhere - Thursday, August 07, 2008
• A Different World - Sunday, August 03, 2008
• Thinking" Consumerism - Thursday, July 31, 2008
• Mr. Fix It -- Not My Husband - Saturday, July 26, 2008
• Pour Me Another Cup of Coffee - Sunday, July 20, 2008
• Southern Cooking - Friday, July 18, 2008
• The Value of Human Life - Friday, July 11, 2008
• Running on Empty - Sunday, July 06, 2008
• A Question of Respect - Friday, July 04, 2008
• Monkey See, Monkey Do - Thursday, July 03, 2008
• English Only - Tuesday, July 01, 2008
• Jesus for President - Friday, June 27, 2008
• Do You Believe in Bad Luck? - Thursday, June 26, 2008
• Existing versus Living - Tuesday, June 24, 2008
• The Rich Are Different - Sunday, June 22, 2008
• Spirit Dog -- Goodbye My Friend - Wednesday, June 18, 2008
• What's in a Name? - Tuesday, June 17, 2008
• Are Some People Really That Dumb? - Monday, June 16, 2008
• An Appalling State of Affairs - Wednesday, June 11, 2008
• The Ongoing Stupidity of the Human Race - Sunday, June 08, 2008
• Living in Fear - Friday, June 06, 2008
• An Epiphany about Survival - Monday, June 02, 2008
• Abusing the System -- Handouts from Uncle Sam - Saturday, May 31, 2008
• When 50 Cents Was a Fortune - Wednesday, May 28, 2008
• The Greed of the Human Race - Saturday, May 24, 2008
• I Have Been Living an Illusion - Friday, May 23, 2008
• Today's Children Lack Imagination - Sunday, May 18, 2008
• The Three Perfect Foods - Wednesday, May 14, 2008
• Kids & Pets Alone in Vehicles - Saturday, May 10, 2008
• Into the Valley of Death - Friday, May 09, 2008
•  In Remembrance of Outhouses - Monday, May 05, 2008  
• Family Is Family - Saturday, May 03, 2008
• Thank You, Mr. President - Thursday, May 01, 2008
• Just the Right Word - Thursday, April 24, 2008
• America, Overweight and Gaining: A Byproduct of Capitalism - Friday, April 18, 2008
• Only in Southern Louisiana - Wednesday, April 16, 2008
• Why I Don't Trust Doctors - Saturday, April 12, 2008
• Mama Wisdom - Thursday, April 10, 2008
• Who Is To Blame? - Tuesday, April 08, 2008
• Smoking Ain't So Bad for You After All - Friday, April 04, 2008
• In the News: Children Plot to Kill Teacher - Wednesday, April 02, 2008
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• In the News - Thursday, March 27, 2008
• How to Tell When You're Getting Old - Sunday, March 23, 2008
• The Most Heartbreaking Profession in the World - Wednesday, March 19, 2008
• My Kingdom for an Honest Politician - Friday, March 14, 2008
• Let's Simplify the Divorce Process - Sunday, March 09, 2008
• Restaurants Should Ban Kids, Not Smoking - Sunday, March 02, 2008
• Technology and the Destruction of Language - Friday, February 29, 2008
• Our Friend, Mr. Comma, and How He Is Being Abused - Thursday, February 28, 2008
• More on the Abuse of the English Language - Monday, February 25, 2008
• More on the Abuse of Words - Wednesday, February 20, 2008
• Slaughtering the Mother Tongue - Sunday, February 17, 2008
• Slaughter of the Innocents - Thursday, February 14, 2008
• Valentines Day - Bah, Humbug! - Wednesday, February 13, 2008
• Election Day - Saturday, February 09, 2008
• Today's Pathetic Television Fare - Wednesday, February 06, 2008
• Something Is Definitely Rotten in Denmark - Sunday, February 03, 2008
• Georgia Good Old Boys & Pickup Trucks - Thursday, January 31, 2008
• Shop 'til You Drop - Sunday, January 27, 2008
• The State of Our Economy - Friday, January 25, 2008
• Love Is Such a Little Word - Wednesday, January 23, 2008
• A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words - Monday, January 21, 2008
• Winning the Lottery - Saturday, January 19, 2008
• What Is Going On With Today's Children? - Wednesday, January 16, 2008
• Flip-Flopping -- The New Trend in Politics - Monday, January 14, 2008
• Religion - Walking the Walk - Saturday, January 12, 2008
• You Can't Transplant a Southerner - Friday, January 11, 2008
• Punishment --Southern Style - Thursday, January 10, 2008
• Today's Children - Wednesday, January 09, 2008
• I Love the South--Especially Our Language - Tuesday, January 08, 2008
• Freedom of Expression: Who Decides? - Monday, January 07, 2008
• You Can't Go Home Again - Sunday, January 06, 2008
• Predictions for 2008 - Friday, January 04, 2008
• Up, Up, and Away--The Price of Oil - Thursday, January 03, 2008
• High School Reunion - Tuesday, January 01, 2008
• New Year's Resolutions - Monday, December 31, 2007
• All God's Creatures, Great and Small - Sunday, December 30, 2007
• Send Me A Man (or Woman) Who Reads - Saturday, December 29, 2007
• Dante's Inferno--Revised - Friday, December 28, 2007
• America’s Expanding Waistline: A Byproduct of Capitalism - Friday, December 28, 2007
• Why We Cannot Live Deliberately - Wednesday, December 26, 2007
• The Ideal President -- My Opinion - Tuesday, December 25, 2007
• Going Deeper and Deeper into Debt - Monday, December 24, 2007
• Cell Phones -- Bane or Blessing? - Sunday, December 23, 2007
• Greed--A Natural Human Condition - Saturday, December 22, 2007
• So This Is Christmas? - Friday, December 21, 2007
• Rush Limbaugh & Double Standards - Thursday, December 20, 2007
• Growing Old Ain't for Sissies - Wednesday, December 19, 2007


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