What in the world is and OUT HOUSE? It is a detached building a SHED within the ground of the main building or house. In Oktibbeha County, Mississippi an OUT HOUSE is an OUTSIDE BATH ROOM. I have heard it also called a “PRIVY”, a place, secluded as a “PRIVATE LITTLE HOUSE”, a dwelling house of a private person. Both an OUT HOUSE and a “PRIVY” are disappearing from our landscapes in this county and in the state of Mississippi. When I would spot an OUT HOUSE somewhere out in Oktibbeha County, I would stop my car...”dead in its tracks” because I had suddenly DISCOVERED A REAL TREASURE that was a real part of our lives so many years ago! Soon every Out House will disappear completely from our sight, and my own opportunity to paint “OUR PAST’ on my canvas!
I have three OUT HOUSE paintings, and each was captured forever on my canvas. They all “LIVED”, Oktibbeha County, and each one represented our past in this great state of Mississippi! Have you ever seen an Out House? They have such “CHARACTER”, and indeed each one has “STOOD THE TEST OF TIME!”
On October 31, 1965, I found the first OUT HOUSE. Where was it? It has been so many years ago, and I failed to write it down on the bottom of my canvas with my signature and the date I painted it. I do know that it was found not far from home in this county, and it was painted all alone sitting on top of hill not far from the main house of the owner. I remembered thinking how “CUTE” it was “perched” on a hill top as if it were “clinging” on to that hill and to the past itself. The sky was a Cerelean Blue color that day, and used my tube of Cerelean Blue that I squirted out on my palette to paint the sky on the last day of October, Halloween day! I used my Hooker’s Green, a dark green on my palette right behind the OUT HOUSE, to indicate a dark shrub or foliage right behind the little OUT HOUSE. Your eyes are then drawn into the entire OUT HOUSE with the contrast of the Hooker’s Green foilage and the Cerelean Blue sky. Pieces of Mississippi Sage and weeds are growing by the left side, and dark brown dirt holds the OUT HOUSE to the ground. Look closely at the beautiful tin rusted roof that almost looks like waves in n ocean from the aging of the tin with the help of the wind for all the years that”it”has stood “this test of weather” as well as “the test of time!”. The old wood is absolutely beautiful. Look at “it!” At the very top find the “knotted round piece of wood” of the wide plank right over the door facing. The black at the very top of the wonderful “rusted hindged Indian Brown...hinges that hold this sagging door in place have so much “ CHARACTER!” This old door has been opened and closed millions of times during “HER” life time! You know that there is a worn path leading up to the front door of this OUT HOUSE...somewhere in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, in the year of 1965!
May 24, 1995, I discovered a BEAUTIFUL...OUT HOUSE right off the Main Street of Sturgis, Mississippi behind The McKinnon’s Merchantile Store, and Adams Hardware Store. This particular OUT HOUSE was built by a wonderful gentleman and a beloved citizen of Sturgis, Mr. Arthur Livingston. Several of the other Sturgis citizens told me, “Hey, Carole, I know exactly where you can find a BEAUTIFUL...OUT HOUSE...follow me behind these stores!” I could not WALK fast enough, and followed them...hauling all my art supplies with me in my hands...later returing to get my colorful umbrella and easel! Here was a wonderful example of an OUT HOUSE, A BATH ROOM OF OUR PAST, and it truly was “A BLAST OF THE PAST!” This OUT HOUSE was leaning to the right of the landscape that “She” lived! I could see the under side of the almost turqouise tin roofs made of two pieces of old tin that had “weathered with grace” from “Her”...”test of time” of our four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter that we experiece in Mississippi. Look at this beautiful “under side” of the two pieces of old tin. Look at “Her” beautiful tin roof! Find the one strong large piece of a beam holding the roof up placed in a horizonal postition. Find the one nail that Mr. Livingston forgot to hammer into the beam. It is to the far left side of the beam siticking out into the white sky! This leaning OUT HOUSE is simply wonderful! Look at the one knot hole on the second piece of weathered wood to the left, and the two dark rusted hinges holding the slightly opened door with a rusted latch that has blown open from our strong winds that we some times experience in this part of the state of Mississippi. The one top hinge is actually holding the entire door up because the the door has seperated itself completely from the bottom hinge. This door is barely “hanging on” to “Her” life itself! But of the three OUT HOUSES, we get to “PEEP” slightly inside and see what the inside of an OUT HOUSE looks like. Its small, and inside is an “OUT SIDE TOILET”. It is a deep hole dug way down into the ground. I have heard that there was always a big Sears and Roebuck Catalog inside on the dirt floor, and was used for toilet paper, or there might be a corn cob or two near by inside this OUT HOUSE. Inside we can see that the brown wood is still light brown and it does NOT have the “WEATHERED WOOD LOOK”... much like the sheen of PATINA on a piece of old silver. The inside of an OUT HOUSE has been protected from the elements, and it looked much like the day Mr. Arthur Livingston built it. The side of the left side has a;piece of wood protruding and “bucking up” from this side which gives it “Character!” Look at the dark black shadow of the roof itself at the far left side of this painting. and the dark shadow from the leaning front door, “inviting” you inside to see what an OUT HOUSE interior looks like! I painted Hooker’s Green Grass mixed in with Light Green and Lime Green grass along with a few weeds that had sprouted up. The weeds and grass just might “decide” to “take over” this past, ANTIQUE...OUT HOUSE! Along with the date of May 24, 1995 I had these words of description of this Sturgis, Mississippi OUT HOUSE along with the STURGIS CITIZENS who had quietly and silently “JOINED” me right behind my back as they told me stories of this STURGIS DOWN TOWN OUT HOUSE that might have been used by CUSTOMERS of the establishments of McKinnon’s Merchantile Store and Adam’s Hardward Store. Both stores are still in existance today and they still have many customers in 2010! Sue McKinnon, the pretty daughter-in-law and widow of William McKinnon and Walter Turner, the Grandson of Mr.Adams own and operate these same stores and business today! There customers and other interested citizens dropped by to see how my painting of their STURGIS DOWN TOWN OUT HOUSE might be progressing as well to “WELCOME” me to Sturgis that day! On the very bottom of this canvas, I included their comments as I was about to sign and date this OUT HOUSE painting...”LOOKING FOR A CUSTOMER”,” THIS IS A “JOHNNY TOILET” OUT HOUSE” and “THIS IS A PAST BATH ROOM...A BLAST FROM THE PAST!”
On June 27, 1995 almost one month later I was “searching” for a third OUT HOUSE to paint, and was “cruising” down the STURGIS/MABEN ROAD, and suddenly my car stopped “dead in “Her” tracks” at the property and home of MRS. MARGIE FULGHAM, “QUEEN” OF THE STURGIS/MABEN ROAD! Margie Fulgham use to own and operate, FULGHAMS’ STORE right in the corner of the road. One can keep on “trucking along” to Maben, Mississippi in Oktibbeha County or head to the left towards Starkville. MARGIE FULGHAM knows everybody and everything you would ever want to know right here in the curve of this road...just stop and pull into “MARGIE’S STORE....and she will tell you...She served for years on the Democratic Commitee, and her store...was where everyone CAST THEIR VOTES during ELECTION DAY!...FULGHAM’S STORE WAS THE VOTING HEADQUARTERS for this area of Oktibbbeha County! I pulled into her home that day, and ask her if I could go near her barn to the side and across the road from her home and store..and paint her WONDERFUL...OUT HOUSE!...MARGIE FULGHAM with her SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY....graciously agreed!...This was a PERFECT...OUT HOUSE to spend the day with...It had quite a HISTORY behind the building of it. It was built by FRANKLIN D. ROSEVELT’S PROGRAM...CALLED..THE W.P.A’S...PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT stated a program called. W.P.A. during the THE GREAT DEPRESSION to put people BACK TO WORK AGAIN, building OUT HOUSES as well as building our CHACTAW LAKE in CHACTAW COUNTY, our neighboring county to OKTIBBEHA COUNTY and BLUFF LAKE AT THE NOXUBEE WILDLIFE REFUGE. My own Daddy, John Andrew McReynolds, II was a part of ROSEVELT’S W.P.A.’S during THE GREAT DEPRESSION, and Daddy helped build both CHACTAW LAKE AND BLUFF LAKE! Daddy’s all time FAVORITE PRESIDENT OF THESE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA was FRANKLIN DELANO ROSEVELT! This day as I sketched and painted what I call the W.P.A. OUTHOUSE...located near MARGIE FULGHAM’S BARN...I thought about the men who found jobs... working and building “THE SOUTH” “back and up” during THE GREAT DEPRESSION in the 1930’s. Here we face in 2010, men and women without JOBS...and the “CRY” TODAY...IN OUR YEAR OF 2010. “WE NEED MORE JOBS, JOBS, AND JOBS IN AMERICA AND IN OUR SOUTH...just like we did when the W.P.A’S BUILT this OUT HOUSE so many years ago! They say, “history repeats itself!” I think so! This is a great OUT HOUSE. We shall start at the top and the wonderful leaning back tin roof. Look at all the colors I saw that day in the month of June, 1995. The roof was carefully anchored to the top with boards and tin. See the top had an opening which held the little door onto its side. It looks like the one hinge to the right was replacing the other two rusted hinges on the left which probably just “wore out” from the many times it was opened and closed, over and over again! We get to see inside this OUT HOUSE as well as the one down the road in STURGIS, MISSISSIPPI that I had just painted about one month earlier in 1995. A “PEEK” inside this old “ PRIVY” we see dark walls deep inside it, and a light brown higher floor. Look at the wonderful three STONES leading you to this “PRIVY”...OUT HOUSE!...Being near the barn area on the property makes me wonder if this really was a SECLUDED PLACE...a very PRIVATE...”PRIVY” OUT HOUSE! I especially loved the OUT HOUSE and the way it was leaning to the far left of my canvas! I painted the vines growing and “drapping” over the top of the tin roof, and even a single vine was “making”..”Her” way inside the cracked door!, /see the tiny tree that has spouted up near the the left side almost “wondering” if ...”It”... (the tree) could help PROP up the OUT HOUSE and save it from...FALLING? Years later I would ride past MARGIE FULGHAM’S OUT HOUSE...”PRIVY”..and I would always glance towards my left side of the road to see this old W.P.A. OUT HOUSE, and “check it out” to see if “She” might be still standing? There “She” would be... proudly LEANING amost ready to fall to the left side and CRUMBLE into PIECES!...Last June, 2009, I rode by , and “She” was no longer there!...I was so sad to know that “SHE”...HAD MET HER DEATH!...FALLEN DOWN TO “REST FOREVER” IN A PILE OF RUSTED OLD TIN, OLD WEATHERED BOARDS, RUSTED OLD HINGES, AND COVERED UP WITH VINES AS “HER” FLOWERS FOR “HER” GRAVE SITE. I was sad, but then I thought this old “PRIVY”...this old OUT HOUSE was in a way still on “The Place” cause “She” “MET HER FATE” by familiar surroundings of MARGIE FULGHAM’S OLD BARN, where “She” was given “HER LIFE”...for years and years since our GREAT DEPRESSION built by the hard labor and the hands of other American citizens in the 1930’s who needed jobs, and “THANKS” to one of our greatest PRESIDENTS...FRANKLIN DELANO ROSEVELT’S FINE PROGRAM, THE W.P.A...MEN AND WOMAN WERE GIVEN JOBS TO DO, AND ONE OF THESE JOBS..WAS TO BUILD ...OUT HOUSES IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI AND IN OUR COUNTY, OKTIBBEHA!
THREE OUT HOUSES, BATH ROOMS OF OUR PAST, “BLAST OF THE PAST!”
ALL THREE OUT HOUSES DISAPPEARED FROM OUR OKTIBBEHA COUNTY....MISSISSIPPI LANDSCAPE!