Monday, April 10, 2006

A good dump

With the exception of Jamaica Plain, pretty much every town I've lived in has had an excellent dump. Twenty years ago, when I was living in New Hampshire and Vermont, the local dumps were still burning trash. You'd haul your stuff up and dump it, and an old bulldozer would shove it into a burning pile. You could pick through all the non-burnable junk that was lying around, and sometimes there was a swap shop where people would drop off or pick up still-serviceable stuff.

Nowadays, of course, our dump is a transfer station. You put all of your recyclables into the correct bins, then dump your remaining household trash into a big dumpster, which is taken off to a central landfill, or more commonly an incinerator.

I was out walking with Horace yesterday in the woods behind an abandoned state hospital when we came across an old dump from the mid-70s. There are a number of civil war-era dumpsites in town, full of great artifacts, but this is the first intact 20th century dump that I'd seen. There were old cars, appliances, furniture, and bottles. The staples of 20th century life. My favorite find was the back two thirds of an early 70s Ford Country Squire station wagon. Acres of wood grain vinyl siding, great swaths of Naugahide upholstery (where was PETA back then, before the Naugas became extinct?)

So that's today's simple thing. A good dump.

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