Monday, December 05, 2005

Potty Talk

This little gem isn't my story, but I cherish it so much I decided to pass it on. The reason I thought of it is that I was reading a blog that I visit regularly and the writer recounted an event told to her by her elderly aunt. Apparently long ago, the writer's great-aunt's mother once painted the toilet seat. (No color was mentioned--it was probably white--but in my mental picture the color is blue [!].) And this lady-who-painted-the-toilet-seat had kids. But she hadn't told the kids about it and one of the young girls went in and didn't look and sat down on the paint.
8 ^ )
And then the daddy swiftly carried the girl out to the back yard and cleaned her tail off with turpentine. And the victim still finds it a mystery why the mother didn't do the cleaning rather than the dad. My personal suspicion is that the mom was so far IN THE DOGHOUSE for painting the stupid toilet seat without warning anyone that she was ashamed to see the light of day.

Anyway, that is not my story either, and it is also not the main story I mean to recount. The first one was just a warm-up, because it immediately reminded me of something else.

My mother-in-law grew up in a great big Victorian house in a tiny town in upstate New York. Her father had a business which he ran out of the ground floor of the house, but the place was big enough that the whole family lived on the second floor (and above). They had room for extra family members, so mom-in-law's grandmother lived with them, too. One night my mom-in-law woke up needing to go potty. She padded down the long, dark hall to the bathroom, and didn't turn the light on in order not to wake anyone in adjacent rooms. She got to the toilet, sat down, and to her surprise sat on her grandma, who was already using the toilet in the dark.
8 ^ )

When my mother-in-law told me this story I laughed so hard I cried and almost gave myself an asthma attack. And every time I remember it, I still howl.

And there's one more little tidbit: when the grandma lived on a farm (I think it was the same grandma), my mother-in-law stealthily "borrowed" grandma's special ring. Unlike the big house, this farmhouse had no indoor facilities; instead, there was an outhouse. Mom-in-law went to use the outhouse, then went back to the house. And suddenly she realized the ring had fallen off in the privy. To this day she has not forgiven herself. But this is also probably why she is very kind to her own grandchildren when they do inexcusably stupid things.

(You have to wonder how this particular grandma/toilet karma got incurred.)


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