A Hog a Day Part 4

With Billy asleep under the porch, I was bored.  I noticed the toilet sitting down  the trail from the house.  “I need to use the bathroom.”  This needed investigation.  I knew what a toilet was, but had never gotten to investigate one to my satisfaction.  Mother had always rushed me through the process on the few occasions I gotten to use one.

”You’re going to have to wait.  I can’t go with you right now.  I’m in the middle of putting this permanent in,” Mother replied.  That fit in nicely with my plans.

”I can go by myself.  I’m a big girl.  I’ll be careful and not fall in.” I asserted.

”If you do, we’re just going to leave you,” laughed Miss Bessie.  “You’ll be too nasty to save.  She ought to be okay.  My younguns went by themselves all the time.”  I admired her good opinion of me as I sauntered off, though I had to wonder if that was where the lost little girl had gotten off to.

“Okay, but don’t fall in and come right back.” Mother looked a little worried as I left them to their project.

I considered myself a bit of an authority on toilets since we had an abandoned toilet in our chicken yard put there by the previous owners.  Mother had always threatened us away from it, but I had bragged to a couple of Mother’s coffee-drinking friends once, much to her horror.  As long as I could remember, she’d been after Daddy to pull it down, but he never found the time.  Not only that, I’d been lucky enough to visit a couple of toilets when we visited some of Daddy’s backwoodsy friends.

I was completely surprised at the daintiness of Miss Bessie’s toilet.  In contrast to her rustic house, it was a showplace.  The walls were beautifully with remnants of ornate wallpaper.  Though the numerous patterns varied widely, they were all right side up, unlike the magazine pictures and newspapers tacked to the walls of her house.  My favorite print was off little fat men in rainboots and top hats holding umbrellas on the ceiling.  Clearly, Miss Bessie had had control of this operation and was a high-class lady.  Bright floral linoleum graced the floor.  Wonders of wonders, a toilet seat covered the open hole I’d expected to see.  A toilet paper holder held a full roll, instead of the Sears and Roebuck catalog I’d been forward to perusing.  I never felt brave enough to look at women’s underwear unless I was assured of privacy, a rare situation in our busy house.  This expertly decorated toilet far surpassed our poor bathroom at home, a very utilitarian one with the usual drab features.

Naturally, once I’d completed my business, I raised the toilet seat to inspect the quagmire beneath, interested to know whether Miss Bessie had managed any improvements on the usual situation.  She hadn’t. The stench was overwhelming. Fat maggots squirmed in the disgusting mess, just like every other toilet I’d ever seen.  If the little lost girl was in there, the maggots could have her.

“You took long enough,” Mother said when I got back.

“That toilet smells even worse than Miss Bessie’s hair,” I informed the two on the porch.  “I sure am glad I ain’t a maggot!”






The Thrill of the Catalog

Hot dog! The arrival of Sears and Roebuck Catalog always started a battle. In the fifties and sixties, it had everything: clothes, toys, appliances, tools, furniture, and almost anything else you could dream up.

As soon as I could wrest it out of someone’s hands, I’d go first to the kid stuff. Every toy imaginable was available. I’d flip straight past the dolls in search of skates, pogo sticks, and cowboy outfits. I just knew my life would be perfect if I could just get a cowboy getup….and oh, yes, a BB gun. My parents made it clear I would not be getting a BB gun, but as long as I could admire them in the catalog, it was always a possibility! Periodically, I’d meander away and a sister or brother would grab it and run. Occasionally, Mother would tell us to look together, and pages would invariably be torn in the ensuing tussle, ensuring big trouble and banishment. We learned to discipline ourselves to battle as quietly as possible to maintain possession.

Once I had sated my toy yearnings a bit, I’d move on to the swimming pool and swing set section. Though I’d admired the amazing models in the book, Mother was quick to burst my bubble about the Olympic-sized pools and towering swing sets the lucky kids frolicked on. “That pool is tiny. It would barely come up past your knees. It’s not even big enough for all you kids to get in at once!”

That burned me up! I could clearly see a dozen kids standing neck deep, swimming laps, or diving off their dad’s shoulders in that pool. Besides, Who cared if there was room for everybody. That pool would be mine!

Moving on from the pool, I admired the refrigerators with their wide-open doors, loaded with watermelons, pies, hams, turkeys, fruit, and molded jello salads. The freezer section was stuffed tight with ice cream and Popsicles. I coveted those refrigerators packed with endless culinary delights, so unlike our clunker with a few aging onions, a bowl of leftover pinto beans, a jar of fresh cow’s milk and a bowl of yard-eggs.

When the competition for the catalog abated a bit, I’d smuggle it to a quiet corner to try to get a little sex education in the ladies and mens underwear section. I never learned much, but I remained ever hopeful, snapping the pages shut should I hear approaching footsteps. When I discovered hernia trusses and maternity girdles, that was the biggest mystery of all. They were forever linked in my memory. To this day, I still hope to discover them in a shameless tryst.