When Lucille and I married some 50 years
ago and moved into a house
across the creek, among the acquisitions previous
owners had bequeathed us (besides three rooms and a porch) was a spring for
drinking and other purposes and a "two-holer" wooden outhouse.
When we built our present home, we tore
down the old house and used the lumber to build three rooms, a kitchen, bedroom,
and a ten-by-eighteen living room. Lucille's daddy, Kieffer Johnson, did
the construction. I am not real sure I ever paid him (Lucille says we did,
but if we did, it was very little. I really thought in those days that was
what father-in-laws were for. Since becoming a father-in-law, I have decided differently.)
The spring, of course, was not movable or we would have moved it; the
water was better flavored than what we have now. But we did move the two-holer
outhouse... very carefully...and used it for the purpose for which it was
designed until (I think) just before our fifth and last daughter was born.
Finally a cousin, Frank Haney, built and furnished us an "in-house."
I wish now we had preserved our two-holer outhouse. We had not the
faintest idea of how valuable it might be - as an antique.
What brought this back to what I call my mind (which is where I try to do my
thinking - not in the "in-house") was an item I just now read about
regarding an outhouse built by the National Park Service, call the "Taj
Mahal." This two-holer is located at the Raymondskill Falls trailhead
in Pennsylvania's Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. It is a
custom-designed and built facility with earthquake-proof walls, imported slate
shingles and cedar clapboard siding, and cost about $445,000. This custom
facility has no water and is locked in winter.
Our two-holer may have been earthquake proof as well since no earthquake ever
shook it down, and it at least had running water - if only when it rained.
It was never locked, unless occupied.
Of the "Taj Mahal," a spokesman said, "We could have built it
cheaper, but we wanted someone coming up the trail or off the road to encounter
a nice restroom facility."
The two-holer on the O'Brien place
probably could have been built cheaper, too, but we wanted walls on the sides.
I do not vouch for the accuracy of the "Taj's" cost to the taxpayer,
by the time they added the paperwork, it might be even more. My suggestion
to make it coin-operated, and each person who used such a magnificent
structure should be most happy to make a deposit.
Again I wish we had saved ours. It served the same purpose, and I could install
a coin box on it.