Monday, April 11, 2022

An Unexpected Easter Story

Spring is bursting out here in spite of the unusually cold temperatures. Snow on the hills and at my daughters' houses not too far away. Sharp wind that drives right through to the skin. Glorious sunshine to temper the chill, and flowers that must bloom no matter what. 



Here I am at 8 or 9. Every year, for Christmas and Easter, my mother sewed new dresses for my sister and me. The outfit above was a tunic type top and a skirt, made from buttery yellow linen. Mom hand embroidered a sweet daisy on a stem on the top. 

The year we wore these dresses we drove from our home in the interior through the twisty Fraser Canyon and its tunnels, for Easter dinner at our grandparents' home. My paternal grandparents lived on a dairy farm. The house was not large, but we all crowded in around the table to enjoy a delicious dinner. There were likely 20 or more of us, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. In the middle of dinner, I had to excuse myself from the table to "use the facilities". There was no indoor plumbing in the house and I had to go outside, down a short path, to the outhouse. My business finished I attempted to open the door latch to return to the house. I couldn't. I jiggled and pulled and pushed, but the latch was stuck. What was I to do? I hollered loudly, to no avail. The dinner table noise drowned out my cries. I thought that perhaps I could crawl under the door, for it didn't go all the way to the ground, but then I would ruin my pretty new dress. I hollered some more, but no one came. Finally, I jiggled, pushed, and pulled the latch some more. To my great relief, it opened. I returned to the dinner table to discover that everyone was so involved in visiting that I hadn't been missed at all.  


 Have you ever been stuck in an outhouse? It never happened again, but I've never forgotten this experience.

The Clematis Montana are draping themselves all over the fence these days, with a lovely delicate fragrance. They would probably be happy to drape themselves over any structure - even an outhouse. I'm grateful for indoor plumbing! 

24 comments:

  1. I can imagine your panic at feeling trapped in the outhouse. Good thing you were eventually able to get the door open. I was never in that predicament but I remember going to the outhouse late one evening. Someone had left the door ajar and I was freaked out by a hen who thought she'd found a lovely spot to roost for the night.

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  2. What a pretty little girl you were, Lorrie. And your mother was clearly an expert seamstress & embroiderer. I remember my mother made me a dress in that same colour, and I really loved mine too. Our home where I grew up had an outhouse, and while never stuck in there, I was traumatised by a frog who jumped down on me one night :)

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  3. Yikes. Glad to know you didn't have to go to extreme measures to get out. I can imagine why that incident would lodge itself in your memory. I was stuck in an elevator once. That was no fun at all. Clematis Montana is very beautiful. Take care.

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  4. Not a nice experience for you. We always had something new to wear at Easter too. My montana is just coming into bud and willl probably drape itself over the shed roof.

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  5. A memorable moment of the panicky kind. Outdoor plumbing was a key element in my childhood on the farm; thankfully I was never locked inside, unless maybe by a prankster sister.

    New dresses at Christmas and Easter - that was the tradition at our house too. How sweet you look in your 'yellow' dress with the embroidered daisy.

    Oh my, your Clematis is looking delightful. Ours have tiny leaves, only because we stored it in the garage over the winter. Most of our garden is still deep in winter worn brown.

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  6. a sweet photo! That memory from your own memory bank is stored for the ages. Your grandchildren will smile at that story in the years to come.

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  7. What a lovely photo of you, beautiful..I was trapped in a café toilet not so long ago, I shouted and started to bang on the door with my walking stick and then thought I was marking it so stopped, then thought bugger me I'm trapped and banged some more, then I jiggled the handle again and it opened. My one thought was at least I had a toilet if I needed to go!!

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  8. Oh my Lorrie, what an experience for you and in your pretty dress, too. I was in an outhouse in Rocky Mountain National Park, and thought I latched the door properly, and a man opened the door, but thankfully I was just about to walk out!! That was an awkward experience.
    Tim’s birthday looked like a wonderful family time. Happy Birthday to him, and May you have a blessed Holy Week.

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  9. I, too, am very grateful for indoor plumbing! My own grandparents had an outhouse for many years (they had a bathroom put in their house in their final years), but I was never stuck in it. Eek! Not a place you'd want to be stuck! I can imagine your panic when you realized that no one would hear your calls and wondered how long you might have to remain in the outhouse. I love that you did not mess up your beautiful Easter dress despite that panic!

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  10. Having grown up with nothing but an outhouse, I am very thankful for indoor plumbing and all the conveniences we have.

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  11. What an ordeal!
    Feeling trapped at any age can be a strong memory. In an outhouse, I haven't been trapped, but if ever out in the wild where that is the option, I will be sure the latch is in good working order.

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  12. You were a darling little girl, Lorrie! Such a pensive look on your face. My mother also sewed Easter dresses for me, and for my three younger sisters, putting the final hems in on Saturday night. How I wish I had saved some of them but I guess mine got passed down to little sisters. I remember outhouse visits when visiting aunts and uncles in the Appalachian mountains. I think I would have screamed my lungs out if I'd been trapped there. I wonder if you nonchalantly took your place at the table again or told them what happened? I remember you once writing about the big farmhouse that belonged to grandparents and the picture of it. I grew up traveling a few hours to "the farm" to my grandparents on special days and all the aunts, uncles, and cousins there, as well as my quiet grandparents who sat back smiling, enjoying it all.

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  13. What a pretty little girl you were, Lorrie. At that age I had ugly glasses and a bad home perm...lol. Your dress looks pretty too. I can imagine how scary being locked in an outhouse for a short time was.
    My father grew up in a cola mining town in Pennsylvania and he told me that one day her went out to use the outhouse and it was gone! It seems that some illegal strip mining had been done in their area and the outhouse sunk down in the ground that had been mined underneath. He said they had to use a chamber pot for awhile until a new out house could be built in a different spot.

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  14. Oh my goodness - what a story. I am grateful I have never been stuck in an outhouse!

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  15. Stuck in the outhouse? oh you poor dear thing. That would
    be a memory i'd not forget ! Your hair and dress are so pretty

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  16. Oh dear...I've never been stuck in an outhouse and I hope I never am. Glad the door finally opened. Love what we can see of that Easter outfit. Lovely embroidery. Cute photo.

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  17. I've never gotten stuck in an outhouse, but have worried about getting locked in a public bathroom stalls. I'm also grateful for indoor plumbing--this is why I wouldn't want to live in the Regency era. Ha!

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  18. I’m not surprised you still remember that story. Very scary when you’re little. I always hate it when a door jambs on me. Once a knob on one side of the door fell off and I was stuck until my husband came and rescued me. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long. My eldest son who was only two at the time was with me and thought it was very funny! B x

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  19. Anonymous4:08 PM

    Love that photo. Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Joyous Easter.
    HAPPY EASTER
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

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  20. No, I have never been stuck in an outhouse but I have never been comfortable using them. They have them at all the smaller beaches here around the island. I get claustrophobic in those little buildings so it's always a relief to get out of them. I can imagine your relief to finally get out of there and in your pretty new dress too. Other than the outhouse experience, it sounds like you had a wonderful Easter with family! I miss those days! A post like this always brings back the memories of family dinners with the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Have a lovely Easter week, Lorrie!

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  21. Love your memories of Easter past...and your clematis! Happy Easter to you and yours!

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  22. That's quite a nightmare for a small child. I am still afraid of being stuck in a public restroom like those on a beach, at a trailhead etc. - if I have someone with me I tell them to stand in front of it so I don't have to lock it. I'm not sure whether I once was stuck as a small kid, I suspect I was, why else would I be so afraid? You clematis montana is beautiful, I remember my neighbor in Germany had one on the ground floor and it grew up to our balcony on the third floor. Vigorous growers, I wouldn't mind having one.

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  23. What a beautiful yellow Easter dress! I remember one dress I got for Christmas at your age: it was tourquoise with a white collar and I was so happy. I never experienced such a nightmare behind closed doors, must have been a terrible moment.

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  24. This is the kind of story our grandkids enjoy hearing, right? Lots of emotions felt. I remember picking berries (for pay) some summers and one day, as a young teen, some boys decided to lock me into the outhouse somehow. I couldn't get out. I was pretty frantic and angry. They thought it was funny, but I certainly did not.

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