The water from our well smelled like rotten eggs and tasted terrible. We bought bottled water for drinking and cooking.
Bottled water was delivered once a week in five gallon glass bottles that we put on a ceramic water crock dispenser. In 1968, two five gallon bottles cost a little over two dollars a week.
Starving college students surviving on the G.I. Bill and part-time jobs, we didn’t always have cash to pay the water man.
Thursdays were water delivery days. I was at home one Thursday morning when I heard a truck coming up our gravel road. I looked out the window and saw the water delivery truck. We were four weeks behind in our payment and I had no money.
I have to hide. I started out the door to hide in the shop next to the garage. Wait. If I dart out the door, he’ll see me. I turned in circles trying to figure out what to do. I know! I’ll hide in the closet. What am I thinking? That’s so obvious. He’ll know I’m there. I’ll hide in the bath tub behind the shower curtain.
I got behind the shower curtain as I heard the screen door open and the water man walk into the kitchen. The first bottle hit the floor. The empty bottle was removed from the water cooler. Water from the new bottle glugged into the cooler. Silence. What is he doing?
The water man walked into the bathroom! My heart stopped. I gasped and struggled to hold my breath. He unzipped his trousers. Splash. Flush. Zip. He walked out of the bathroom. I continued to hold my breath.
Footsteps. The screen door slammed. My heart pounded. I gasped for air. Gravel crunched under the truck’s tires as the water man drove away.
He had no idea of the terror he created for me. Or, of the terror I might have created for him.