Chores

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On a visit to Door County, Wisconsin, I took CJ on a tour of the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. It’s a great tour to take with a 5-year-old because until 1926 it was home to a family with 7 boys. One of those boys, Walter Duclon, later served as a tour guide when the lighthouse opened to the public in the 1960, and to this day the staff is still repeating his stories.

The lighthouse had no running water, so to bathe they had to carry water up the hill from Green Bay, pail by pail. They filled the bathtub once, and that had to do for all 7 boys. The boys took turns bathing, from oldest to youngest. Walt’s turn came last. “I got in dirty,” he said, “and I got out wet.”

All 7 boys slept in a single room, and in winter no one would leave to use the outhouse. Instead, they all used a single chamber pot, and the boy who woke last had to empty it. “There wasn’t a slug among us,” Walt said. “Every one leapt from bed at the first sign of dawn.”

As I drove her away from the lighthouse, CJ asked me, “Why did the last boy up have to empty the pot?”

“Well, no one wanted to do it,” I said. “So they had to make a rule. If you had 7 brothers and sisters, how would you decide which of you should empty the pot?”

“I wouldn’t,” CJ said. “You or mommy would do it.”

“CJ!” I said. “It’s time we talked about chores.”

 

 

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