Outhouse Catches on Fire

Family expects family from California when the outhouse catches fire.

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I remember our outhouse as one that was badly in need of repair. The back side (which faced the woods to the north) had two boards missing. It did get cool in there some days.

My mother's sister and family were coming to visit from California. They had inside bathrooms so mom was after dad to fix up our outhouse before company arrived. Dad was slow. He didn't see the need to "put on airs" for our California kinfolk.

Well about a week before company arrived, most everyone had gone to the barn to do the milking (Dad was slow about that too, and usually visited the old outhouse and smoked his pipe). We all saw the smoke and ran toward the house to see if it was on fire. But no, it was the old outhouse. Mom got accused of burning it down so we could have a new one before company arrived, but we all knew Dad's habit of dusting his pipe into the hole. There was enough paper in the hole to start a fire. By the time the ashes from Dad's pipe became a blaze, he had been at the barn for some time.

We all said that was the warmest our old outhouse had ever been.

Vera Beach
Gladstone, Missouri


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.