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My Blog

Remembering Pay Toilets

Good morning to all.  I have finally returned from a trip to Texas.  Loved being with the family, but happy to be home as well.  What a difference in temperatures from there to arriving here.  I left Texas and it was in the high 90's and when I arrived home it was 62 degrees and raining like crazy. 
Well, today's blog is perhaps a bit off the wall, but on my way home yesterday, I stopped to use the bathroom facilities in one of the gas stations.  Upon entering the ladies room, there was something about the look of the door on the bathroom stall that reminded me of the days when we paid to use the bathrooms.  Talk about a swift flight back in time. 
I remember that you always took a few dimes with you when you went out...just in case you needed to visit the ladies room.  I can remember walking into the bathroom and there stood that door with the sign on it, instructing you to insert the dine into the slot and that there should be no sharing of the stall.  There were many times when I had entered the ladies room to find young women crawling into a stall because they didn't have a dime on them.  I cannot imagine getting down on my hands and knees to crawl on a floor that might have any urine on it...but I suppose if you had no other choice...well, you might have felt there was no way out. 
I was never really sure why we needed to pay to go to the bathroom back then or ever for that matter.  It seems that the reasoning was to pay for the upkeep of the facilities.  At least that is what they claim. 
When I questioned the pay bathrooms, my husband said that he thought that they did away with them to stop people from urinating in front of them in protest.  I couldn't imagine such a thing and then of course, I argued that the only people I thought that would or could do that was men.  I couldn't imagine that a woman would drop her drawers to urinate over such a thing.  But upon researching, I found that the first pay toilet was installed in 1910 in Indiana. 
They were made by a company called Nik O lok.  They were finally banned in Chicago in 1973.  Chicago was the first to ban and then it continued around the US. 
As I continued to research, I discovered that pay toilets are still common in other countries, and that even in London, they have pop up toilets that come up at night for the drinking crowd to avoid anyone publicly urinating on the streets.  It seems that some of the pay toilets have attendants sitting in front of them to collect the money.   They may also deliver the toilet paper to you to use the facilities. 
It seems that in many places...it is frowned upon if you ask them to use their facilities.  I know many establishments that have signs that their bathroom are for employees only. 
I found some current photos of pay toilets and see that some even take credit cards as well as change. 
Well, for all of those who remember when we paid to use the public toilets...I thought you might enjoy this little poem.
Here I sit
Broken-hearted
Paid my dime
And only farted
I am not clear who wrote it...but pretty apropos.

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