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More Stories - The Way We Were

Public Toilets and Private Moments      

When author Cynthia Macgregor forwarded the piece about why women take so much longer than men in the rest rooms, entitled "The Stance", it reminded me of a funny toilet incident from my childhood.   Since I decided to "let it all hang out" in this website, I'll 'fess up.

When my mother was in her late eighties, but fortunately still having all her marbles, we talked a lot about things we were proud of and those we regretted, good times, bad things that happened to us and why, and even funny moments in our lives.  I reminded her of an incident she had totally forgotten.

Mother felt it was her duty to inform me fully on personal matters when I was growing up: menstruation, childbirth, hygiene, etc., as no one ever told HER a darn thing when she was young, and she had to find out the facts of life the hard way.  But this instruction was difficult and embarrassing for her, so she would pick her moments, and would she ever pick them! The birds and the bees discussion happened while she was teaching me to make a cake called - ready? - Cherries Jubilee.  I'm sure the humor escaped her.

Mother also taught me about putting paper on public toilet seats. (See "The Stance".)  On one of our frequent motor trips we both REALLY had to go.  I was probably about seven or so.  Daddy stopped at a garage to have something done to the car, and we asked to use the bathroom, which was virtually a closet with only a toilet, at the back of the room where they kept the auto parts, stocks of coca cola, etc. (This was a long time ago, you realize, and out in the country).

There were several men in this area. We went into the bathroom, locked the door, and mother carefully papered the toilet seat and helped boost me onto it without dislodging any, where I proceeded to "do number two" as we euphemistically called that function. She handed me a wad of toilet paper, and as I was about to reach under from the front, she decided to give me a lecture on "wiping front to back" to stay cleaner and avoid possible infection, and followed with a lecture about the importance of always washing "that place" with a soapy washrag when a took I bath, and rinsing well.

Did I mention the bathroom and surroundings were kinda dark, probably one reason she brought up this (for her) embarrassing  advice, and that there was an dirty, open transom window high over the door? No, guess I didn't.  We heard sniggers and snorts from outside. Mother's mouth dropped when she realized the whole conversation had been enjoyed by a bunch of mechanics taking a break.  She hurriedly rushed me out keeping her face averted, although the men were nice enough to turn their backs. A good thing since I had a fit of the giggles the whole way to the car.

A short distance down the road Mama confounded my dad by asking to pull over so she could go in behind some trees and urinate. "I thought you just went!" he exclaimed.

"Bess did, I sort of forgot to...." she mumbled, trying to hurry behind some bushes with her legs crossed.

The Sneaky Kitchen
Web Site by Bess W. Metcalf   Copyrightę April 1999 - 201

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