"Potty Breaks" Susan Grotte: Memories of HHPainful cramps rock my lower back. I stare at the shoes. Opening my eyes wide to stop the tears. Twenty six pair of plain brown loafers, scuffed and worn. All facing forward, all showing agitation. Twisting, stomping quietly. Legs pressed tightly together as 26 girls dance in quiet agony. The familiar potty dance. Large and severe Miss Diana stands at the beginning of the line. her legs are like tree trunks as she stands in her sensible black warden shoes, scowling. No one dared whimper. The lined moved with intentional sluggishness.A slight girl in the childish blue polyester uniform and red knee highs steps out of the bathroom. She steps up to Miss Diana and holds up her hands.Miss Diana sniffs, “I don’t smell soap”“I washed Miss Diana, I did!” The desperate girl pleads for clemency.“That is a work duty for arguing. Do you want to make it a paddling for lying?”The door had been ajar. We had all heard and seen the girl wash her hands. This was simply a power play.“No ma'am.” The girls frail shoulders sag visibly. She steps back into the bathroom leaving the door ajar while she carefully re-washes her hands. She again walks up to Miss Diana holding her hands up.“OK.” Miss Diana gestures with exaggerated boredom for the girl to pass and the first girl in the waiting line steps up to Miss Diana who holds out a roll of rough industrial toilet paper.We were to indicate how many sheets of toilet paper we needed based on what business we had to accomplish. Three sheets for pee and five for a bowel movement.“I may need some extra Miss Diana.” The blond girl blushed so deeply her scalp shone pink beneath her thin hair. Miss Diana smirked and handed her three extra sheets.“Just full of it today, aren’t you Tina”Tina laughed, a forced tight laugh while the corded muscles in her neck betrayed her urgent need. She stepped into the bathroom, careful to leave the door several inches ajar. The sounds of explosive diarrhea filled the narrow hallway.I clench my fists, I curl my toes, I squeeze my thighs together for all I am worth.I bite my lip and look up the line, fifteen girls still ahead of me.Please God, please.Just then a girl cries out in anguish. A dark stain slowly spreads out on the concrete floor beneath her. There is a nervous shuffle then eerie stillness as Diana’s eyes settle on the puddle.Miss Diana bellows out for the other main staff lady, “Sharon!”Thin and pointed Sharon’s face peered around the corner. Her thick bushy eyebrows raised. Her long hair piled precariously on her head.“We have a wetter!”Disgust drips from Diana’s voice as she grabs little Lynn roughly and herds her down the hallway. As she and Sharon leave dragging Lynn between them, Diana commands the new young summer staff lady, Christie, to take over the potty line. Soon muffled cries and sharp whacks are heard as tiny Lynn is paddled for her crime.Christie grabs the roll of toilet paper and with sympathy and compassion she quickly moves us all through the line. Nothing felt so sweet as to finally sit on that toilet. I looked at my scrawny legs. My knees were now the largest part of my legs. I had to grab the sides of the toilet to keep from falling in. I had lost 40 pounds in just 4 months and my 5’9 frame was down to just 88 pounds. Little more than a skeleton,I looked at my panties puddled on the floor around my ankles. Several strands of short curly hair caught in the plain white cotton. My body hair had been falling out as steadily as the hair on my head. I hoped no one would notice the faint odor of urine as I pulled up my damp panties and washed my hands. I had leaked a bit after all.I held my hands up to Christie to smell as I came out of the bathroom. She rolled her eyes slightly, embarrassed as I was at the infantile ritual, and waved me on.Walking down the hall I see Lynn, now crouched over a bucket scrubbing the concrete floor while Miss Diana berates and ridicules her. Her dark hair spills out onto the concrete obscuring her face but I see her boney shoulders shudder as she sobs silently. She has been changed into fresh clothes and paddled but her humiliation will not stop here.She is now diapered, a point of which Miss Diana makes sure we are all very aware. I had been so close to being the girl who wet herself. Once again saved by a child who was weaker and smaller than myself. Lynn was only 12. I felt sick. I hung my head in shame and walked by poor little Lynn slinking back to my seat in the cold makeshift basement classroom.
~ By Susan Grotte