Family Uses Outhouse as the Bathhouse

Girl accidentally drops a rock on her sister’s toe while preparing the bath.

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On hot summer nights, the outhouse was converted into a bathhouse. This was more convenient, as it kept the mess out of our house, and was closer to the well and the big black kettle where our water was heated with a fire under it.

One particular Saturday evening, when I was five and my sister almost three, it was our important job to put the papers on the outhouse floor to set the tub on. Whenever we put them down, the wind would blow the papers up. So I had the bright idea of putting rocks down to keep the papers from blowing. My sister found a large rock and set it down, right on my big toe.

How could such a little girl lift such a big rock? I can still remember the pain and later, the loss of my toenail.

Elaine Hageman
Axtell, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.