Outhouse Memories

Mom and daughter share special talks in the outhouse.

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When I was young both of our parents worked hard, but Mom was always busy with gardening, canning, feeding, cleaning, sewing, baking, mending, cooking, and all the other activities that limited finances required. At the time, I had a younger sister and an older brother, and it seemed to me that they always had more attention than I did.

But after supper when the dishes were done, Mom and I went to the outhouse together! I can see as clearly as if I were there, every crook in the path getting there and the view from the outhouse door. It was there Mom and I had some very special talks.

In the summer we would watch for lightning bugs, look at the sky and listen to the sound of trucks on the highway a mile away. Even in winter we would light the kerosene lantern and head for the outhouse. Then we talked about the stillness of winter and the beauty of snow. Occasionally we would hear a coyote in the distance, but I was never afraid when Morn was with me.

If I had any concerns or problems at school that day, that was the time I discussed them with Mom. She even shared some of her secrets with me and that made me feel very special.

Considering the way things are today, this may sound strange. But the outhouse will never fade as far as I'm concerned. It will always remind me of special memories.

Leona Shadle
Green, 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.