Outhouse Poetry

It was 1936 and my father had just received a government bonus for his World War I service. Payment was made in $50 bonds. Using one of those bonds, our family of four spent ten days traveling through parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas (clear to the gulf), Oklahoma and back to Kansas.

While traveling in western Arkansas, we stopped out in the country at a filling station which had a little old outhouse out back. Being a “city girl,” I found this place to be very interesting. During the few minutes I tarried there, I read a verse someone had carefully written on the wall, almost like a note telling later occupants why the writer happened to be there. Now this subject is a rather touchy one to write about, requiring carefully-chosen words so as to not offend. The verse was immediately “etched” into my memory. Here it is: “Someone’s pulled an awful caper, Left me here without any paper.

The flat’s all fixed

And I can’t linger, “

(And the last two lines were a real humdinger!)

Most memories of that trip have long-ago faded away, but sorry to say, I remember that WHOLE verse better than I remember any of the beautiful poetry we had to learn in school!

Christine A. Scott
Newton, 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.