A ways back, we had a little chat about outhouses, and how prior to the post-WWII boom, lots of folks still did not have indoor plumbing. Well, Sara wrote in to let us know that at the heritage family home in Pennsylvania, they still maintain and use their two-seater, the beloved “Sally”. Sara writes:
I was born in the ’50s, and every summer we traveled to rural Pennsylvania (closest town of any size, Towanda, was a twisty-turn-y, nightmare of a 10 mile drive) where my great-grandparents had in 1932 purchased a tract of land along the Susquehana River. It had a dilapidated barn, an old building that had once housed a general store, a few acres of land and a huge farmhouse built in the 1850s. I had to leave a comment today because at the time my great-grandparents moved in, the WPA came through the valley and built a solid, safe, sanitary two-seater outhouse on the property, identical to the one pictured. My extended family has carefully maintained it over all these years, and it is neither smelly nor creature-infested. I’ve lived with indoor plumbing all my life, which is why using the outhouse (and the occasional chamber pot) has been important for me. How else could I otherwise appreciate my pastel bathroom???
One of my good-natured cousins snapped a couple of pics for me the other day. I’m sorry Sally doesn’t look her summertime best. Ordinarily the brush is kept mowed, and we often put geraniums in flower pots on either side of the door. There was even a little bell ages ago! You’ll notice that we raised the roof and inserted screening a few years back, primarily to let in more daylight.
We have a modest perennial garden along the slate pathway that leads to her door, and she was wisely built close enough to the house be convenient, and far enough away to be discreet. You could meander slowly down the walk, pretending to do a little weeding amongst the flowers, and no one would be the wiser.
Yes, this is the work of the WPA. Men without jobs were employed by — gasp — the federal government, to build and repair those things that Americans needed and used in their everyday lives, thereby immeasurably improving their health and safety. Imagine that.
Thank you for putting your foot down when it comes to the national habit of snickering at the colors, furniture, flamingos and other assorted accoutrementof those in the 1950s and ’60s. So many of them had only comparatively recently emerged from a backward, colorless and unsophisticated way of life. And now look — clean, fresh water in a pretty pink tub! Somebody pinch me!
Well, that was way more soap box philosophy than you’d counted on, I’m guessing.
Enjoy Sally! Aw heck, we sure do!
Thank you, Sara, for the lovely memories, and for the healthy snap-to reminder of how lucky we all have it. 🙂