Monday, August 16, 2010

Schoolhouses and outhouses

The teachers in my local county are headed back to school this week. Without. Me. Yeah!

Instead I'm deep into the education process of the 1940's and 50's, catching all kinds of stories, and my heart goes out more and more to the teachers of that era. What champions they were. I don't know where to begin explaining how I came to that conclusion, but I think I'll start in the toilet because that's what I was writing about today.  Outhouses and indoor restrooms. (No, nothing is sacred when you are catching stories about a school.)

This was a country school after all, and I shouldn't have been surprised about the privies that were behind the school. The teachers and children those first few years thought nothing of outhouses, because that's what everyone had at home. Finally, though, the water system at the schoolhouse began working and the long anticipated indoor bathroom toilets became functional. Torlet. That's the old pronounciation. Torlet. Has sort of a ring. Torlet. So then the teachers had the very real job of potty training their students. I'd bet their teacher education courses never prepared them for that. From all reports, however, the transition to the inside had only one major snag.

The flush.

Outside, no problem. The children never needed to learn the flush. Inside, different story. There was the physical act of flushing, true. But the real problem came with the flushing noise that frightened the littlest ones and sent them running away. And there was the real problem that the older students couldn't stuff just anything down that new fangled hole like they could outside.

Oh the stories a storycatcher catches.



  1. Too funny! Thanks for the humor. Oh the days those toliets overflow.

  2. Were the outhouses 2 holers?
    Gender specific?
    Sized for the little ones?
    Were the indoor ones gender specific?