A visiting college friend drops a burning cigarette and lights the fancy outhouse on fire.
The outhouse was fabulous. It was a beautiful two seater made from cedar (even the shingles on the top) from our place. The lumber had been planed (by hand) and was varnished until it glowed. The Sears catalogue had its own shelf above the large metal can that was used to hold off-casts.
One Friday afternoon my sister brought a girlfriend home with her from college. They did not want my parents to know the girlfriend smoked, so she did it in the outhouse.
On Sunday morning just before we were ready to leave for Sunday School and church, she started to the outhouse to have her last smoke before afternoon. When she started down the back porch steps she began screaming. The entire outhouse was a mass of flames and was about to fall in. So the outhouse went up in smoke.
The visitor had dropped a used, but still burning cigarette in the bin with the paper.
No, my parents were not angry, but the next outhouse was not so fancy as there was no more cedar left to make it with.
For the next forty-six years (as long as she lived), she was a friend and often came to visit. She gave herself the name "Fire Fly."
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.
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