It was a Friday, and someone asked me what I had planned for Saturday. My answer was….going to the dump. Wasn’t that what everyone did Saturday morning? Not anymore, I guess. But being “old school,” that’s what was on my agenda to start the day. One of my earlier memories of living in Underhill was going to the dump. We did have a burning barrel, but you also needed to go to the dump, and this was before plastic bags were popular. The first Green Up Day had paper bags to use. I still have one in the cellar. Folks with enough land usually had their own dumps. There are a few on our property. One even has a few old car parts and a rusty car body.
Going to the dump one morning shortly after we moved to Underhill, I met Ellie Cook, who was to become a good friend. She had a pickup truck with a dump body. Boy, was I envious! Our dump consisted of a bank where you threw your trash over the edge. People would go to the dump and shoot rats, popular sport back then. Every once in a while, there would be a fire and all the fire engines (trucks?) would head to the Dump Road to put the fire out. If you heard the fire whistle, if it wasn’t Tuesday at 7:00, chances are they were headed to the dump.
I think our oldest daughter’s first word was “garbage,” and when Gael’s grandmother would come to visit when she was in her 80s and 90s, she always liked to ride along with us to the dump. In the late 80s, the selectboard was looking for someone to operate the bulldozer at the new dump location. By then, the dump had moved
further up Dump Road and the garbage had to be buried. Knowing Gael could operate a bulldozer, he was asked if he could help until the town found someone permanent to do the job. He offered, and then every Saturday he would head to the dump with his truck. Like many of you, he collected stuff and brought things home that he could use. He eventually left the pickup truck home and started taking the Diamond T truck.
A few months turned into a few years and the dump began being a gathering place for the locals. Arsen Potvin, or was it Marcel LeGrand, would bring a six-pack of beer and Ed Farmer would bring lunch. Wendell Metcalf was always there too. Gael would hang the American flag from a tree when he got there. And he started a
garden where people who were getting rid of lawn ornaments and bits of outdoor things could place them. I think it was even fenced in. This is where a great deal of recycling happened. Recycling…….something people have been doing for generations!
Eventually the town dumps had to close in the early 90s, I think. The rats scattered all over town and people moved on to the newer ways of getting rid of garbage. Many people have their trash picked up at their house for a fee or go to the recycling centers. In Underhill, there is a fellow who has a location on Route 15 in Jericho called At Your Disposal. He is open on Saturday mornings from 8 – 12. He has three dumpsters: one for recycling, one for trash, and one for metal. He has a place for food scraps too. He has lived in Underhill for a long time and knows everyone. Going there is almost a social event, like the old days. I get to visit him and anyone else that happens by, and if there is a bit of gossip to hear or pass along, that’s all good too. Gerry Adams is always there with a bag of cookies made by his wife Sue to give to Nate.
So, to answer someone’s question What am I doing Saturday morning? You will find me at the dump, and I’ll check out what has been tossed into the metal dumpster. You never know what good stuff has been discarded by a neighbor. And WDEV even has a radio program Saturday morning called….”Music to Go to the Dump By.”