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August 17, 2010

My good intentions went out the window last weekend because we had company. No pre-packing, no finishing up shopping, no getting extra office work done to avoid the inevitable avalanche while I’m gone.

One of our guests, a 16-year-old, was talking about how hard is was to share a bathroom on vacation. In my best “I had to walk five miles in the snow” old man impersonation, I told her how easy she had it. Try growing up in a one bathroom house, with three adolescent girls! There was another toilet, but it was in the unfinished basement and we only used it in dire emergencies.

There was no such thing as bathroom privacy when I was growing up. It wasn’t uncommon for one of us to be in the shower, another using the toilet, and a third doing her hair. Or someone using the toilet, someone else sitting on the tub waiting for her turn on deck, and another doing her hair. Lots of hair styling was evidently necessary in the ’70s. Add Mom in to the mix, and it could be controlled chaos. The only person who had the luxury of always being in the bathroom alone was Dad.

One of my brother’s wives, who was an only child, wasn’t used to the open-door bathroom policy. When they would come on Sundays for visits, she was surprised – actually, I think appalled might be the better word – when someone would come in the bathroom after a cursory knock. She quickly learned to lock the door.

It helped that we had to take military showers: turn the water on to get wet, then the water gets turned off while we wash. Then it’s on to rinse off, and wet the hair, then off to shampoo. Then on to rinse, off to condition, and one last turn on for a final rinse. Should you have the temerity to vary from the prescribed routine, there would inevitably be a pounding on the door by Dad, with the warning that we were going to run the well dry.

Thirty years later, I think Charlie is the one to reap the benefits of his wife growing up in a crowded bathroom. No muss, no fuss, I’m in and out in a flash.


From → Rambling stories

One Comment
  1. Pam permalink

    Ha. I remember having so much fun in the bathroom–all of us packed in there, yacking away. But, private? Definitely not. I used to think you all just waited until I went in the bathroom to use it.

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