Special thanks to Kimberly Johnson of dvn ms kmz time travel and her “potty” post at https://dvnmskmztimetravel.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/wake-me-up-before-you-go-go/ It was Kimberly’s post that had me remembering about my grandparent’s potty; Thanks Kimberly for the reminder. Please check out her “potty” post – it was quite entertaining!
Although I have no heirloom “slop jar” – I do have the memories!
I grew up knowing what a “slop jar” was and more at my grandparents farm in Siloam, Georgia.
My mother recalls the first slop jar was always kept pushed under her parents bed and when her mother bought a new bedroom suite, well granddaddy had a fit as his pot didn’t fit under the bed anymore. Mama said he always complained about that for the longest time, as now the slop jar had to be kept behind the tall headboard of the bed.
I can so picture that slop jar today, sitting right behind the headboard of the bed; the bed wasn’t flush to the wall, so you had privacy back there – except for the noise you made:) I never gave a thought to being embarrassed and had no problem scooting back there – I was young. It always was nice and clean every morning, but I never saw who emptied or washed it. My mother says that you were only allowed to “pee” in it, if you wanted to do other things, then you were expected to head out to the outhouse. When I asked her if she went to the outhouse, she loudly said, “not this chicken!” She only used the slop jar or found herself a private spot outside. She told me later that they used to throw it out in the pasture near the back of the house.
Mama had much to say about the outhouse… “When my daddy (Edgar McKinley) bought the farm from the government farm program, they had built a three-seater outhouse there, and also remodeled the older farmhouse and built a barn. I would not venture inside that “three seater” at all – too many spiders! You could just open the door and see them hiding in the corners and I felt they were waiting to jump down on me. The back of the outhouse at the bottom was open and daddy put chicken wire in front to keep the chickens out. He would lift the wire and rake out the waste weekly to keep it clean. I remember him always burying it as he said human waste was not good to fertilize anything with. That chore I never would have done!”
“A few years after he bought the farm, the government came back around and tore down all the old outhouses and built new “one seaters”. These were quite different from the original one as there was now a cement toilet that looked like a commode – just like what we have today in our homes – it even had a lid. They dug a deep hole, almost like a well – which needed no cleaning as it was so deep. A much improvement, but still not to my liking, I preferred the slop jar inside.”
When I asked what was used for toilet paper, well “that’s where the old Sears and Roebuck catalogs, magazines and corn cobs went.”
I remember going with my grandfather (Paul Bryan) once to the sawmill and he told me he’d be right back, he had to go to the bathroom. What I couldn’t figure out at the time, but never forgot, was as he passed a pile of corncobs, he picked up a couple and kept walking – but they didn’t come back with him. I think I went home and asked my mother why? It’s a visual memory that I never forgot!
My grandfather (Edgar McKinley) never had real indoor plumbing in the farmhouse until the early 70’s when my mother moved back home to care for him – she insisted that a bathroom would be installed! I’m sure he balked, but he wasn’t going to win with her on that. If he had had his way, he would have continued to live his life with that slop jar!
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© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco