Cleaning the Outhouse

Girl goes above and beyond her outhouse cleaning duties to avoid getting caught.

| Good Old Days

When I was nine years old it was the worst year of the Depression for our family of eight. We moved to the country from the city. My Daddy could work for Mr. S. for sixty cents a day and a house to live in. Mr. and Mrs. S. had no children. They took a liking to me. Mrs. S. wanted me to stay days and help with small chores. They both took long naps and rested every day after lunch and I had nothing to do. At first I wandered outside missing my two sisters and little brothers. Nature called. I went to the outhouse, and as I sat on the seat I saw right across from me a little knot hole about the size of a dime in the wall. 

I spit at the hole. Of course I missed. I spit again and I missed again. Well, it takes a while to make spit, but I kept trying to spit in that hole. Every day as soon as Mr. and Mrs. S. went to bed I would see how many times out-of-ten I could hit that hole. I thought Mrs. S. wouldn't mind me spitting on the wall, since every day or so she would have me take the broom and a bucket of warm soapy water and wash the seat and floor of the outhouse, then open the seat lid and put in a little lime. She wanted the outhouse fresh and clean. I thought I better wash the wall since I spit on it. Then I decided she might wonder why I only washed one wall. I washed all the walls as far as I could reach.

One day I overheard Mrs. S. telling my Mother what a good worker I was, saying, "She not only washes the seat and floor, she washes the walls!"

Mrs. Glen Hancock 
Bois 0' Arc, 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. 

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!