Richard’s Almanac: The dump, then and now

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The 'Goody Pile' at the Recycling Center.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The ‘Goody Pile’ at the Recycling Center.

I was corrected the other day when I was  speaking with someone and mentioned that I had to take stuff to the dump. “Oh, don’t you mean the Recycling Center?” I was asked.

I guess that’s the official name now.

I was first introduced to the dump in 1972 as the place to take garbage. You placed all the refuse in plastic bags and brought the garbage to the back of one of the dump trucks parked at the dumping area off Bowditch Road.

These were just plain bags and not special ones issued by the town. And nothing had to be separated. Nothing was recycled the way it is now.

However, there were always interesting things to pick up and make use of. I did not realize how much this was done until I had some renovation done at my house. I had a stall shower replaced with a tub. When the stall shower arrived at the dump, a few guys with wrenches began stripping it of all its pipes and fixtures.

When I cleaned many old items out of the house, including old, small kitchen appliances, I noticed them appearing at yard sales.

I remember one man who was at the dump every day scouting for usable objects that he brought to his house and had a perpetual yard sale.

I know some individuals who never bought a new lawnmower. They’d  just go down with a small gas can  and try to start the discarded mowers. The one that started went home.

If I needed a piece of wood for a project, I’d check with the dump first. I have a friend who referred to the dump as “the shop.”

During the late 70s when I was living here full time for a while, I used to go down and cut firewood at the dump. There were a few others taking advantage of the discarded trees. I did not have a truck so the trunk of my car became pretty messy. One winter I remember having four cords of wood stacked along my side porch.

While I was cutting wood, my young children liked to scavenge or play on the tire pile. My youngest  found a coconut that was carved to represent a head. He brought it to “show and tell” at school the next day. It turned out his teacher had dropped the coconut head off a few days before.

That tire pile could serve a purpose in hard times — careful searching could yield a tire of the needed size that would be able to pass state inspection.

One summer, there was a piece in Dan’s Papers about a couple on the South Fork somewhere, who furnished their summer cottage with local dump-found furniture.

The current Recycling Center is not quite the same as the old dump, but considering the times, we’re pretty lucky to have what we do. In some towns  public access to recycling centers is not permitted.

The new recycling facility may be a lot more organized than the old dump was and it is much safer. The spirit of reusing items lives on in the goody pile.

If you are serious about picking, apply for a permit.