"Do You Remember This?"

by Jo Blaylock

Share your own memories by responding to Jo's essay as a comment on this post. Click here.

"During World War II my mother and I lived on my grandmother and grandfather’s farm. Daddy was in San Diego, California in the Navy. My mom was a teacher and I was five years old.

We had an outhouse to use for the toilet and yes there was a Sears catalog for toilet paper. You had to walk through the chicken poop to get to the outhouse and I was always barefoot. At night when it was dark and cold we used a slop jar for peeing. It was kept under the bed and you pulled it out and took the top off and whew was it stinky. My bottom was so small that sometimes I would have to hold myself up on the sides of the pan to keep from falling in. Bath time was not my favorite time. I had to bathe in a big wash tub outside.

Sometime we stayed at my Aunt's and sometime we lived in one room of someone's home. Housing was scarce and expensive. Oh and at my Aunt’s house water was rationed, just like everything else in those days so bath time there was not much better. There were my cousins who were born one day apart and they were younger than me and my cousin who was my age. So the young ones got to bathe first then we would get in the bath water and take a bath.

It seems that one day one of the younger cousins was breaking out with chicken pox, so you guessed it, we all four got it at the same time from bathing in the same water. Now that I look back, I am sure that was a hand full for my Aunt.

Because there were no cell phones, no TV, no electronic games/gadgets, our entertainment was our imagination and we would spend hours in the back yard, which had no grass, drawing rooms in the dirt with a stick and pretending we lived in a big house. Then we got bored with that, we would watch the red ants doing their busy work. We also had the wall phone where you could stand on a box and listen to the party line conversations. I remember being disappointed when everyone got their own line.

I always wonder why chicken is now so poisonous when back then our fried chicken would sit out on the table all day to snack on and no one ever got sick from it. I know you have all gotten emails about drinking a coke with holes punched in the top with an ice pick and everyone drank from the same bottle or direct for a water hose if you were outside and thirsty.

Those were fun times and I believe everyone was a little thinner because there were no fast foods and everyone played outside til dark. I have a picture I am sharing with you of me with my hand on a deer in Johnson City, Texas and low and behold, in the background is the “port-a-potty” from the 40’s...the outhouse!

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