Back in the 60’s in rural New England we had a town dump, where lived “The Dump Man”… at least that’s what I thought as a kid. We’d load up the station wagon with discarded stuff and household leavings, and head to the “Dump” (aka “Landfill”) to unload the week’s garbage. As my little-girl mind had figured out, the Dump Man lived in a little shack at the entrance to the landfill, and we had to stop there and wait for him to come out. Usually it wasn’t long before he would come ambling out, scruffy, rotund, clad in coveralls – gruff or smiling, depending on his day. Peering into the back of the wagon, more often than not, he’d wave us on to the spot where we could toss the junk over the edge to mingle with the rest of the stink. Once in a while, he’d see something of interest in the back of the wagon, and my mom or dad would reach back and hand it to him – maybe an old lamp with a broken shade and frayed wire. The outside of the Dump Man’s shack was littered with all manner of stuff that he had taken in and fixed, then would sell for cheap. But some of it was in perfect shape – stuff you couldn’t believe someone would throw out – a shiny Sunbeam Mixmaster, a Flexible Flyer sled or some a beautiful piece of vintage furniture that just needed a bit of TLC. Any visit could turn into a shopping bonanza for things he had saved from the heap.
More recently I’ve had friends report “sneaking” perfectly good stuff out of the dump because it wasn’t legal to take. Trash to treasure is more likely a Thrift Store story these days because the landfills are getting tight due to liability issues.
So what’s your dump story? Any landfill stories in your life?