Growing Up Rennie: Journey to the Port-O-Pottie

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Courtesy of Emily Hynds
The Hynds family, 1990.
When I was a kid, my parents both worked at ye olde Texas Renaissance Festival. I basically grew up there. It wasn't till I came of age that I realized this kind of upbringing isn't normal. I left it behind me and tried to talk about it as little as possible.

But now one of my best friends is moving to Boston in January, and she's never been to the Texas Renaissance Festival. Sacrilegious! So we're planning a trip, camping and all, so she can have the experience, and so that I can make my glorious return. The trip-planning has been bringing back memories, some good and some bad.


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Courtesy of Emily Hynds
Sayin' some sooth, know mean?
Anyone that's ever worked there would know this, but for participants there are two places to camp: the inner circle and the outer circle. The inner circle, at least when I was a kid, was a prime spot, although I don't know why because the restrooms were on the fringe of the outer circle.

My family camped in the inner circle--where luck would have it, so did the "barbarians." I'm sure they were nice guys, but to a little seven year-old girl they were frightening beasts who ate children like me and my siblings for breakfast.

One cold, cold night, when it was so cold I had to wear all my clothes to keep warm, I woke up and had to pee. I wasn't allowed to walk to the large restrooms on the outer circle by myself, my sister wouldn't go with me, and the port-o-potties for the inner circle-ites were right next to the barbarians' camp. Damn my sister for not going with me! Damn it for being so cold! Damn my fear of the terrifying beast-men!

I tried to hold it and finally couldn't wait any longer. I began the trek alone, wearing all my clothes to the port-o-potties. After I'd made it all the way there, I opened the door to the port-o-pottie, put my foot inside...and I couldn't hold it any longer. I peed myself.

One foot in and one foot out. So close.

I peed myself wearing all the clothes I had for the weekend. I don't remember what happened after that or what clothes I wore for the rest of the weekend. I do, however, remember being made fun of. For a long, long time.

Hopefully I won't soil myself on this trip. Tune in next week to find out!

(Emily Hynds is the artistic director and co-founder of Bootown, a Houston-based, non-profit theater group dedicated to creating fun, original, collaborative theatre using interdisciplinary methods in non-traditional settings.)


(The Texas Renaissance Festival continues weekends through November 28.)


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