Another Man’s Treasure

A hillside tells a story from another time.

The last people who lived on our property left in the late 1950’s.

We’ve narrowed the time down by going through their trash.

Back then, people who lived away from town dumped their garbage on their own property away from the house.

When we first found bottles laying on an embankment near our trailer, we excitedly set to work sifting through the dirt and piles of garbage. We pulled out bottles, cans, car parts, broken cookware, the first TV dinner trays, and other stuff dating to the early 1920’s.

We noted, through the artifacts we uncovered, the evolution of man’s refuse from heavy iron objects meant to last a lifetime to the beginning of the disposable age of cartridges filled with replaceable razor blades, the TV Dinner trays, and old tubes of toothpaste and Preparation H (hemorrhoids are nothing new, after all).

spoons and vacuum tubes

Holding someone else’s possessions in my hands after so many years left me wondering what their former owners were like. Of course they did dishes, cooked, cleaned, cried, laughed, drank, and read books……all of the things we do today but was the culture different? I’m sure their leisure time was spent much differently with the exception of some old standbys Endcap Entertainment.

The land passed through a succession of owners but no one saw fit to stay here for sixty years – to care about the place. It sat quietly waiting with only the deer, the ants, the trees, rocks, and soil to occupy it’s time.

DSCN2332
Toy plane.

But these family’s stories have been preserved, ironically, in the things they cared least about at the time they were left behind. An egg beater thrown near the base of a young tree is disappearing into decades of its growth.

old english

Tin cans, rusted into scraps, litter the slope. Parts of machinery that held up better under the gentle onslaught of time, still insist they are useful.

Salad forks, spoons, lamp bases, marbles, and can openers lay encased in the dirt inches below the soil. Protected from the elements, souvenirs from Japan, a hand poured heart made of lead, vases and every other type of thing a family would use during the early to mid-twentieth century stayed behind when they moved. I wouldn’t think of taking my trash with me, either. 🙂

One day, I found a bracelet bearing the name Tommy Best, tossed down the hillside with the rest of the trash. Why, I wondered? I called him and asked:  Blast From The Past.

bracelet tommy best
I found the owner of this engraved bracelet. He’s now eighty years old.

With every mundane object or broken keepsake we unearthed, I wondered what the family might think of us happily digging up what they threw out after dinner one night in 1945?

Would the lady of the house mind that I polished up her can opener and was using it again for the first time in sixty years? I bet she wouldn’t.

wouldn’t mind if I was a ghost.

PS As I was finishing the editing on this post, a cupboard door in my kitchen quietly opened by itself. I really wonder if they’re watching now. 

Author: ldinlove

I live with my family, two cats, and at any given moment: ten dear, two turkeys, ten chicks, ten billion ants, ten thousand bees and wasps, two white rabbits, twenty angry squirrels, one occasional bear ( occasional works for me), a couple of snakes, the neighbor's stray dogs, and one very friendly skunk.

2 thoughts on “Another Man’s Treasure”

  1. I can relate. I “discovered” many of the same types of treasures when I cleaned up a section of overgrown property of my mom’s – some years ago. I found the remnants of wire fencing through the woods that was so over grown, it was a verifiable jungle in places. And I too found piles of farm machinery and bottle/can items semi buried by nature.
    Many a story can be told by what people leave behind.

    1. We counted over 250 bottles intact, alone. I think the photos are on my other computer. We sold a few to the antique shops in the area along with items made of iron (an old meat grinder and sad iron). The objects really DO tell a story. I just can’t help wonder if you are really stirring up dormant energies and gaining the attention of their old owners when you unearth them. The cupboard opening was really freaky.

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