An Abundance of Toilets

Thanksgiving Plate

Simple Thanksgiving dinner with major feelings of thanks for all that we and our loved ones share.

Today is Thanksgiving and we awoke with sunshine pouring in the bedroom window and took time to reflect on all the things for which we are grateful.

First, as always, is our immediate family. Dolores and I are deeply in love and that love only grows as we progress through our 8th decade in life and our 5th decade of marriage. All our children turned out great, married great spouses, and had their children, our grandchildren, who all turned out great. The credit for this is individually theirs, but we still indulge ourselves with a tinge of pride in this fact.

Next is our deceased family and friends. Our parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends who all influenced our life during their time with us.Their influence is often discussed in our morning talks and we are grateful to these departed family members and friends for how they have helped us shape our life.

Finally is that all our family has done well in the Ovarian Lottery discussed by Warren Buffett and others in that we were born in the USA at this time in history.

During our morning talk over coffee and biscotti this morning, we both reflected and discussed the above, but then the discussion took a weird turn. My mind works in ways I don’t fully understand, and all at once I told my life I was grateful for an abundance of toilets.

It turns out that we have a home with 2 1/2 baths, which equates to three toilets, and there are only two of us. Having two toilets for two people at our age is truly a blessing. At this age, when you get the urge, not having to wait saves a lot of accidents. Having three is an overkill now, but we still had two kids living at home when we bought the home, and we still have occasional guests staying over night, so our over-abundance of toilets might be forgiven.

But this caused us to think about how we were raised, both in houses with one toilet.

My wife had three brothers which made a household of six with only one toilet. If they had the same abundance of toilets, they would have to have six toilets to break even plus 1/3 more — an eight toilet household to match the luxury we now enjoy. You can see why chamber pots under the bed were quite common household furnishing then. All children were taught to use one, and Dolores often got to practice.

I had six siblings which made a household of nine with only one toilet. Doing the same math results in a twelve toilet household to match the luxury we now enjoy. I had totally forgotten about chamber pots, but I had one under the bed I slept in on the sleeping porch, although I don’t remember every using one. The inconvenience of only one toilet for nine people was somewhat alleviated by an architectural detail I don’t think most people appreciate today. The toilet was in a “water closet”, a separate room from the bathroom, which only had a tub and wash stand in it. This meant you could use the toilet without dislodging someone bathing or shaving. Also, all makeup, hair combing etc. was done in the bedroom using the mirror that was part of every dressing table.

So can the abundance of toilets be used as some measure of economic progress by the federal government? Why not, we have all seen statistics equally strange.

This would help us determine how each of our abundance of toilets stack up to the national average. We feel we might might be average or better. Another thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Another of our morning talks over coffee and biscotti.