Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Traveling Memories -- Eeww de Toilet

It always fun to travel. You learn so much, get to see how people live in other parts of the country, and the world. Traveling can be very exciting, informative and sometimes frustrating

As a child I traveled overseas with my parents to place like Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, and Turkey to name a few.

Perceptions of what we'd find were sometimes comical.

Take moving to Germany while my father served in the Air Force.

We packed up our household goods, sorting some to take overseas and some to move to storage. For a family of seven there was quite a bit to go through. We were allowed to pick a few special things and some clothes then sent the rest away in boxes we wouldn't unpack until years later.

 My parents also made sure that the family truck and camper were sent out by ship. I figured we were heading for a place where people lived in tents or something. I was going to miss all my things, but thank heaven we would have our truck to live in.

Then I began to think of how crowded that would be for the time we had to live in Germany. At least our camper had a bath and shower. A tiny bath and shower, but we'd stay clean. I wondered if we'd live at a campground.

Imagine my surprise and relief when we arrived in Germany and had a home complete with walls, bedrooms, a bath and a toilet.

Years ago, toilets were not available at every store you visited, nor were they open to the public if they were. There was usually one bathroom at the gas stations (sometimes one for men and one for women, not always) and you had to get the key, or wait in the line. When our family stopped (all seven of us) there was always a line. You learned to hold on.

In some places you prayed you would. We had our camper with the bathroom to travel around Europe, for all the good it did. We didn't get to use it. And my father never stopped, we were certain he had an iron bladder or something.

When my father was stationed in Turkey a few years later, we again had indoor plumbing, but it went out it in the building every afternoon for a few hours, so we had to keep the bathtub full of water so the plumbing would work. We also had to boil our water and use drops of clorox to clean it before we drank. They said the sewer leaked into the fresh water pipes quite often.

Public bathrooms in some areas were a lesson unto themselves. There were seats, no toilet paper and no doors. Instead there were two well places metal foot pads on the floor over a hole, a tin, a bit of magazine and a faucet. Usually, one of us would or two would hold up a blanket over the area where the missing door should go while the other took care of business. Squatting beside the road took on a whole new meaning... We remembered to carry toilet paper or kleenex.

I think men had far easier than women.

Then again, when I think of another trip my husband and I took with two of our boys, (one 2 1/2 the other 1 yr)  I might have to reconsider.

We were traveling to North Dakota along vast stretches of wheat fields and very few roadside stops. Our eldest decided he had to go. So we stopped on the side and with the door to one side and mommy to the other, tried to get him to go. He couldn't everyone was watching, all the cars and people in them would see him. Mind you there was very little traffic.  He said he could wait, so we packed him back in the car and headed down the road again.

Shortly, he said he had to go really bad. So we stopped and tried the side of the road again. Once again,    he couldn't do. Once his bum flashed in the breeze he freaked out and said he could hold it.

So back in the car we went.

Luckily, we found a little store and were able to stop. I picked up my son and jogged inside only to find that there was no bathroom.

I asked if they had one and they pointed to a little reddish-brown wooden building. I jogged my son there and opened the door, trying to plug my nose while assuring him that if he sat on the hole in the seat it wasn't going to eat him, nor would spiders bite his rear.  No coaxing could change his mind.

I swiped my watering eyes and moved my son and I outside before I barfed. After clearing my mind with fresh air, I took my son behind the outhouse and he was finally able to take care of business in full view of the road, with cars driving by.


Patty Froese said...

Kids and peeing on the sides of roads! LOL! Mine takes considerable joy in it... yours seemed shier about the experience. ;)

Tina Pinson said...

My two younger boys, had no qualms about it.:-)

there was a kid at our church who, it never failed, decided to water the plants outside the church every Sunday after service. Mine didn't do that. For that I am glad.

Online Education said...

Peeing on the side of the road is perfectly acceptable in most of the less civilized third world. Is that surprising?

Tina Pinson said...
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Tina Pinson said...