Postcard from the Past – The House Behind the House
One of my fondest memories
As I recall the days of yore
Was the little house behind the house,
With the crescent o’er the door.
‘Twas a place to sit and ponder
With your head all bowed down low;
Knowing that you wouldn’t be there,
If you didn’t have to go.
Ours was a multi-holer, three,
With a size for every one.
You left there feeling better,
After your job was done.
You had to make those frequent trips
In snow, rain, sleet or fog
To that little house where you usually
Found the Sears catalog.
Oft times in dead of winter,
The seat was spread with snow.
Twas then with much reluctance
To that little house you’d go.
With a swish you’d clear that wooden seat,
Bend low, with dreadful fear
You’d shut your eyes and grit your teeth
As you settled on your rear.
I recall the day Ol’ Granddad,
Who stayed with us one summer,
Made a trip out to that little house
Which proved to be a bummer.
‘Twas the same day that my Dad had
Finished painting the kitchen green.
He’d just cleaned up the mess he’d made
With rags and gasoline.
He tossed the rags down in the hole
Went on his usual way
Not knowing that by doing so
He’d eventually rue the day.
Now Granddad had an urgent call,
I never will forget!
This trip he made to the little house
Stays in my memory yet.
He sat down on the wooden seat,
With both feet on the floor.
He filled his pipe and tapped it down
And struck a match on the outhouse door.
He lit the pipe and sure enough,
It soon began to glow.
He slowly raised his rear a bit
And tossed the flaming match below.
The Blast that followed, I am told
Was heard for miles around;
And there was poor ol’ Granddad
Sprawled out there on the ground.
The smoldering pipe still in his mouth,
His eyes were shut real tight;
The celebrated three-holer
Was blown clear out of sight.
We asked him what had happened,
What he said I’ll ne’er forget.
He said he thought it must have been
The pinto beans he et!
Next day we had a new one
Dad put it up with ease.
But this one had a door sign
That read: No Smoking, Please.
Now that’s the story’s end my friend,
Of memories long ago,
When we went to the house behind the house,
Because we had to go.
– Author unknown.
Penned on last scrap of paper remaining in an outhouse. For those who never had to trot out in the cold at the crack of dawn to use the outhouse, just give thanks!
The two-story outhouse shown here was the model used to construct a similar “Chic-Sale” at the Encampment Museum, but, then that’s another story to read while doing your duty. Why the two-story outhouse was called a “Chic-Sale” is still being debated.