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|Date:||5/22/2013 12:17:38 AM
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|Little Brown Building, Part I
"They passed an ordinance in the town
They said we'd have to tear it down
That little old shack out back so dear to me
Though the health department said
Its day was over and dead
It will stand forever in my memory
Don't let them tear that little brown building down
Don't let them tear that precious building down
Don't let them tear that dear old building down
There's not another like it in the country or the town"
This song was recorded by Bobby Bare and others. When I Googled the lyrics one of the comments that had been made was, "This proves that you can get sentimental about almost anything." But in fact, a countryman does get sentimental about such things. My grandmother was born in 1880 and lived 'til 1978. Throughout all her life, she had never had indoor plumbing. One time, while in her 90's, she was at a family gathering at one of her sons. It was one of those usual paper-plate, picnic table, outdoor thingies. One of the great-grandchildren announced that he had to go to the bathroom and ran inside the house. Grandma stated, "When I was young, we ate indoors and xxxx outdoors. Now they eat outdoors and xxxx indoors."
I do know that the American Indians could never understand how the whites could stand to store their offal in a hole and then sit over it.
As for La Ferme Sabloneuse, my Pa built a house, attached shed, barn, corncrib, and outhouse in 1949. He told me that he and his mother went to Shawano (if I remember correctly) and brought back two or three concrete rings which he lowered into the hole that he had dug. This provided the reinforcement necessary for sandy soil. My family moved in on the land and lived with electricity, telephone and TV all before indoor plumbing. (If that doesn't prove that we were rednecks, nothing will.) Pa built the new house starting 1959. I believe that we didn't get the indoor plumbing hooked up until 1961 or '62. My earliest childhood memory was the septic smell from the brand new tank and drainage system.
A young poplar sapling grew next to that outhouse. When Pa cut it down in the early 1980's, he cut out a disc-like section of the lower trunk. He marked the rings of the tree and noted that from 1949 to 1960, the rings were wide, connoting a healthy growing season. Before and after those years, when the outhouse neither existed nor was in general use, the growth rings were narrower. The scientific conclusion was that the human fertilizer during those years caused extraordinary growth. Pa showed this cross-section to Father Jim Hablewitz, our parish priest at that time. Father Jim recalled this at Pa's funeral in 1985, giving homage to Pa as being quite the local naturalist. (Continued in Part II later this week.) -- Gary
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