Jul. 3, 2017

The Outhouse

We landed about 28th or 29th of December, 1925.  Traveling from St. John's New Brunswick, we arrived in Winnipeg on the 31st of December.  Wondered what all the noise was about since the time of arrival in Winnipeg was about Midnight - New Years Eve.  Trip through bleak prairies was discouraging.   Here and htere in the winter nothingness, there was a tiny two-storey house with smoke pouring straight up into the cold sky.

My cousins (Cornelius & Henry Plenert) met us at our place of arrival at a little town called Stanley, Saskatchewan.  We were bundled onto hayracks and were driven over the crunchy snow in a seemingly endless ride through a still moonlit Saskatchewan night to my Uncle's home on Sheldon Farm - Sheldon Farm being one of the numerous Mennonite settlements who were renters on this vast prairie.  We children enjoyed the sound of the crunching snow under our feet.  But the necessary trips to the outhouse were something else again. Lord, it was cold!   I well remember the Eaton Catalogue hanging on the privy wall and how first all the soft pages would disappear, leaving the shiny, coloured ones to the very last, but at any rate, providing us with the rather pleasant pasttime of looking at the pictures and dreaming of what we would buy, had we the money.   Usually, before the necessity of using those shiny coloured pages would arise, a new catalogue would arrive and a replacement would find its way into the 'taunti' (Mennonite for Privy).

Stories were still alive around the place how on Hallowe'en, which was entirely new to us, some kids had thought it a very funny joke to lay a stiffly frozen dead piglet across the hole in my Aunt's Privy, and stand aside to watch the fun.   Well, the resulting scream from my aunt when she sat down on that bristly cold thing was enough to curdle the blood in the bravest of the lads.  They never wanted to repeat that trick again.