If you’ve been in my shop, you’ve probably visited the bathroom and know that I have a fairly large collection of vintage children’s enamelware pottys on display. I have no memories of using these as a child (my collection actually began when my mother gave me her enamelware potty that she had as a child), but I love finding the pretty colors and cute pictures that made such a mundane household item a little more fun.
Today a young woman came into the shop with her very precocious 5 year old son, who was busily helping her choose fabrics to make clothing models for her business. At one point he made a trip to the bathroom, and I could tell when he came out that he was on a mission as he made a beeline for my husband who was sitting at the checkout counter. From across the shop I could tell they were engaged in an earnest conversation, but I couldn’t hear what was being said. Finally, my husband called out “Honey, could you explain to him what those pots are in the bathroom?” At this, the little boy came hurrying over to where I was and exclaimed that he just didn’t understand what Mr. Mike meant about indoor plumbing (apparently Mike had tried to explain how people didn’t used to have indoor plumbing and the little children used the pottys instead…)
The little boy’s mother just smiled and went on about her shopping, so I took off to the bathroom with the little boy to see if I could make it clearer to him. I started off by saying “You know what this is for, right?” as I pointed to the toilet. He looked at me like I was nuts, and said very properly “Of course, that’s where you do your business!” So I went on to explain how a long time ago people didn’t have bathrooms in their houses, and at night rather than have to go outside, they had chamber pots under their beds in case they needed to use the bathroom and the ones on display in the bathroom were small size for children.
He looked at me very intently for a minute or two, and then with his hands perched on his hips, he said “It is no wonder I didn’t understand what the pots were for…at our house, we have one of THOSE!” pointing to the toilet! And with that he turned and marched off to find his mother!
What a delight that little boy was! He was so inquisitive, but so matter of fact with his questions and he had everyone around him engaged in his conversations. I’m afraid I may have ignored a couple of customers for the opportunity to talk with him…but I’m sure they understood!