from Tin Tub Baths & The Ragman, A Living History of Northwest Pennsylvania

When the Outhouse Floor Collapsed

by Ruth Miller of Warren, Pennsylvania
born 1923

 My story begins on our big farm where we had no electricity or running water. We used oil lamps and we pumped all our water from a well.

My dad used to take our fresh corn to town to sell. He made many friends and sometimes they would come to our farm to visit.

One day a group of ladies came in their Sunday “go to meeting” clothes. We had an outhouse which was a 2-holer so it accommodated more than one. Kids didn’t care. On this occasion one too many ladies went into the outhouse and the floor collapsed.

Pandemonium erupted.

My dad ran for a ladder. The outhouse had been moved over a deeper hole since our family was growing. All were rescued and we began pumping water and filling buckets so we could wash the ladies off.

In the excitement one lady lost her false teeth, which of course were never recovered.

It was a day never to be forgotten.

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