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Back in the days of the old outhouse

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the old outhouse. As a youngster, my first concern was "why is it so far from the house?" Still don’t know for sure, but I assume it was to keep odors away from the house and visitors.

In the winter, when the weather was too bad to make the trip, we had potties to carry out later. The trip to the outhouse served as a good wake up when the cold wind or rain swept the premises. Built of plain wood, no windows and two holes — a small hole for youngsters.

In ours was a Montgomery Ward or Sears catalog. Toilet tissue was a luxury and we had very few.

We left the farm very rarely, but enough so that I learned how the other half lived. I was the only child and became the third hand with my father and mother.

Before electricity, lanterns and lamps indoors were our lighting. We had to do things the hard way — pumping the water for our animals and ourselves; cleaning the barn when cows and horses were kept in during the winter; and carrying water and feed to pig pens and chicken coop, in addition to keeping their quarters a bit clean.

In the summers, we raised food for the stock and cut wood for our winter heat.

There wasn’t a lot of slack time on the farm and a blessing for me was that in my working years since, I’ve never had to work that many hours.

It’s been a snap for this lucky old dairy farm boy.

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@gmail.com.

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