Friday, October 10, 2008

Flashback Friday #7

We now have indoor plumbing.

Indoor plumbing is something that most people take for granted, until they are forced to do without it. Most of us can find the bathroom in a half-sleep stupor. Go, flush, go back to bed. Nothing to it. But what if it wasn't so easy? Most of us have had to stop at an "outhouse rest area" a time or two in our lives. If you haven't read it yet, I have a Flashback Friday about our outhouse. But this post isn't about outhouses, it is about us getting running water indoors for the first time.

I was at an auction recently and spotted this chamber pot (the auctioneer called it a "thunder pot"). This is similar to what our indoor toilet looked like until I was nine or ten years old. I am currently mid 40's, so I am referring to 1972 or 1973. It was the responsibility of the kids to empty the pot. We had to carry it back to the back fence & dump it. During the "Tingler" & the"Blackmail" days, it became my daily duty.

In the house that we lived in, there was no bathroom. We kept a chamber pot like the one above setting on a couple cement blocks by the side entrance of the house. The room it was in had some shelves on the wall, so it held everything from extra canned goods to tools. The "pot room" was to be used only at night, or in bad weather, as we had two fully functional outhouses on our property. The room had no door, just a blanket hanging from a couple of nails. The rest of the house contained two bedrooms downstairs, plus a living room & an eat in kitchen. There were two bedrooms upstairs.

Dad decided that we needed to get water hooked up to the house, so we moved the items from the kids bedroom to one of the bedrooms upstairs. My parents took over what used to be the kids bedroom, and the now empty bedroom was to be fitted as a bathroom. We had no fixtures, but with Dad being a carpenter & all-round handyman, he rounded up what was needed.

The first thing you need in a bathroom is running water. I don't know too many bedrooms that have that, so Dad had to run a water line under the floor. The house had an almost full basement, but not under this room. Dad, and his best friend Chuck, cut a three foot by six foot hole in the floor to give them access to the crawlspace under the floor. This they would cover over with a four by eight sheet of plywood when they weren't working.

Things went together quickly and before you know it, they were just about finished. As the final water lines were hooked up, a cautious still hung in the air. Chuck was in the basement at the main valve, while Dad was upstairs ready for the final inspection. As each knob was turned, water flowed. YAY! Now the shower, again water flowed freely. Now the toilet. We all waited anxiously. FLUSH. Hooray! It Works.

Dad asked "Who wants to try it out first?" Of course, I had to be first. Dad picked up his tools, carried them out & shut the door. But the one thing he forgot was to put the plywood over the gaping hole in the floor. I knew I couldn't, so I inched by it over to the toilet. When I was finished, and all the paperwork done, I stood up to pull up my pants. In doing so, I lost my balance and plunged into the hole. SNAP, went the new water line, and before I knew what had happened, there was a beautiful fountain in our bathroom, shooting all the way up to the ceiling.

"HELP, HELP" I cried. Dad shot into the room, saw the fountain, and hollered "Turn the water off Chuck, Hurry". The water was turned off, and Dad pulled my soggy little body out of the hole. About an hour later, the line was fixed, and the hole covered. Until the day we moved out, the sheet of plywood was never nailed down (It was the access panel for the plumbing). The bathroom may have had a "redneck" look to it, but at least it was indoors.

1 comment:

Lavender Chick said...

Okay - first, this story was funny, I can't believe you fell in the hole! But, your story is also a wake up call. With all that is going on economically in our world, people need to hear that in the not so far past, some people were able to get by without indoor plumbing, etc... It scares me today think about how much we all take for granted - not to mention instant this, drive through that, etc... Anyway, you're story was eye-opening. Thanks.