Saturday, September 29, 2012

Making Room

Much in the same way that I wonder if our elected officials in Washington D.C. feel honor bound to root for the Senators when baseball season rolls around, I am curious how the family that lived in our house before us managed. Not so much their sports affiliations, but their living space.
Currently we have three humans and one canine comfortably ensconced in our home. When we first moved in, there was one bathroom, located in the middle of the house. This wasn't a problem for most of my son's early years, as his commitment to indoor plumbing was still being negotiated. Even so, whenever we had guests at the house, there were certain times of the night and day when access to that plumbing needed to be negotiated. This lead to the first big household renovation we made: a second bathroom. To be more specific, a half bath. This meant that whenever there was a need for showers or general hosing off, the line still formed outside the door of the one room with the facilities to handle such ablutions.
This past week our niece came to stay with us for a couple of days. A ten-year-old girl with hair that requires washing, rinsing, conditioning and drying far beyond any of those experienced by the rest of us currently under our roof also requires time and privacy that we don't normally encounter in the course of our nuclear family day.
Here's the thing: The family before us managed to raise five kids, three boys and two girls, along with two parents in that house with just the one bathroom. This boggles my mind. This is a mind that is not often boggled, since I tend to make up solutions even when they aren't particularly practical. Then I remembered the film "Yours, Mine, And Ours." Not the Dennis Quaid remake, but the 1968 version with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball. I can remember watching that movie as a six-year-old, living with my two brothers in a house with three bathrooms, and trying to imagine how they managed. Hank Fonda played a naval officer who put all of his years of being in the service into a system that involved numbers and colors and coordination that left the kids just a little dazed. Ultimately, the twenty or so members of that family made do with the beast of a Victorian in which they lived and worked and played and slept. And no doubt, had to use the bathroom. It's what families do.
I don't know about you, but I suddenly feel considerably less boggled.

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