The Toilet


In case you have only recently looked at my blog and you don’t know what I am doing I think, that for this post, I should give some background information.

As a memoir writer I am trying some experimentation by walking around my childhood home to see what memories come when I visualise each room. Today is the day of the toilet. It will be a short post because I am not going into any detail about the what goes on in a toilet. I’m sure we all know that well enough.

My childhood toilet was across the hall from my bedroom. The hall was T shaped only the long part was the hat and the short part the upright. The short part was off the hall outside my room terminating in the bathroom at the end. The toilet was just before the bathroom.

It was a tiny room which even as a child I could touch both walls and still have my arms bent. Its only furniture (if that is the right description) was the toilet.

As a child I was hopeless at arithmetic. I had a mother who was very mathematically inclined ( she used to do simultaneous equations for fun as a child where I would play spider) and a brother who followed in her footsteps. My teachers all informed my parents that I was arithmetically challenged and when the IQ result came in confirming this my mother decided on drastic action.

Onto the back of the toilet door went the times tables and the addition tables. If  I was caught coming out of the little room I was immediately tested on these. I had no interest in studying whilst I was on the toilet but I didn’t like the quizzes either so I avoided going as often as possible.

I told my mother later in life that I held her totally responsible  for both constipation and my still almost nonexistent ability to add and multiply. My Mum however, obviously thought that this method was worth repeating as she put up resuscitation charts on the back of her staff’s toilet for them to study at their leisure. I doubt that she tested them though when they emerged.

The picture of the toilet is not in my house but it is the only picture of a toilet that I have taken (Switzerland 2009).

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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8 Responses to The Toilet

  1. xbox2121 says:

    I am sure this is not a laughing matter to you but I got a good chuckle out of the part where you blamed your Mum for your constipation and almost nonexistent ability to add and multiply


  2. fictionfitz says:

    Loved this story, my only question is why is this picture the only toilet you photographed? I returned to my childhood home about 25 years ago, the first time after having not seen it for 20 years. My wife and visited together. We knocked on its front door and asked the residents if I could show my wife a tour of their home. They joined us in curiosity and fascination.


  3. fictionfitz says:

    Reblogged this on Writing Out Loud and commented:
    Another story worth the read. This one from 9k plus miles from New England. Thanks Irene!


    • Thanks for that. I’m glad you liked it enough to reblog it. I didn’t answer your question before – it probably isn’t the only toilet I have photographed but it was the only one I thought I could find easily. I snap everything but finding anything again is difficult to say the least. See my post cheese123.


  4. What a wonderful thing to do. I bet you came up with memories for every room and for the new owners what a treat to learn some of the history that happened in the home.


  5. Pingback: 99 word flash fiction: Toilets | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

  6. Pingback: Her Crowning Glory: 99 Word Flash Fiction | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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