Friday, March 30, 2012

Hooray for Indoor Plumbing

I love modern plumbing. While there are many places in the world where there is still no plumbing at all, or it consists of a well-head where water can be pumped out of the ground and carried home for cooking and washing, for those of us who live in the western world good plumbing is taken for granted. If we are thirsty, we turn on the kitchen faucet. If we need to bathe, we can choose tub or shower and there is plenty of hot water on tap. To dispose of bodily waste, we push down a little handle and it goes away. It is so easy that we don't even think about it. We just use these wonders.

Grandpa and Grandma
by their homestead house.
While enjoying my wonderful, hot shower this morning, I started thinking about my grandparents. They came to Wyoming from North Carolina by emigrant train in 1917. They homesteaded on the prairies of southern Campbell County, where they lived until my grandfather had a major stroke in 1955. They moved into town then, for Grandpa was severely handicapped by this devastating event in his brain. For the first time, my grandmother had indoor plumbing. She had running water in her kitchen, she could bathe without having to heat the water on the stove and pour it into a galvanized wash tub, she had no more trips to the outhouse.  Her life was not easy caring for her husband. I never heard her talk about it, but having indoor plumbing must have made at least a little of her life easier. Of course, Grandma knew about and had used indoor plumbing when visiting away from home. But it had never been an everyday part of their lives until 1955. Grandma was 68 years old.

When I think about it, I feel very spoiled. When people talk about the joys of camping, I always say that I'd love to go camping, as long as there's a flush toilet! What would I do, if I were forced to live without these modern conveniences? Well, I'd learn to cope. Of course, I would. But I'd probably whine from time to time!


  1. Whine just from time to time??? Ha! :o)

    1. Just remember, I have lived without the mod cons. We lived several months under those conditions when I was four and I remember it very clearly. And, of course, whenever we stayed with our grandparents we lived that way. When I was ten we moved to an unfinished house that, while in town, had an outhouse. My folks got the bathroom finished but it took a while. So I know whereof I speak, and I REALLY love modern conveniences!

  2. i have used outhouses and they were so difficult for me. i can't imagine raising a disabled child or caring for a stroke victim without indoor plumbing. i am very grateful.