In the early 1980s, we lived in a tiny house, on a funky cul de sac behind a row of small businesses.
I would walk out our front door, turn right, and go dumpster diving: for discarded, mis-fired, mis-glazed ceramic and pottery pieces. A “crafty” trend in that time period (ok to call it a hobby back then) was to take precast ceramic dishes and figurines, provide a space, classes, paints for folks to decorate their own pieces. On site (or elsewhere) kilns then fired the pieces, giving them a crackly, glazed or other sort of finish.
Mostly, I used the discarded pieces as anger management. In the days pre video games, there was something very cathartic and soothing about flinging plates and pottery against the side of the dumpster (the dumpster sat behind the shop; the side that faced our place only had a slightly raised lip – my diving was more like walking/stepping), hearing and seeing the shatter. Occasionally a piece appeared in the dumpster “whole” and finished; some of these ended up in our tiny living space.
Needing to move back to the East Coast, we mailed ourselves the few valuable “keepables” we possessed. Yes, children, there was a time it was cheap to mail large boxes across the country! We also planned to take some things along on our 6 week road trip, packed into the spacious trunk of our 1965 Valiant.
The majority of our furniture were cast-offs, scrounged from “big item” garbage pickup days or placed outside “freebies” from house renovations. A sofa, table, and dresser had some value, so we hoped to sell them prior to turning the housekeys over to the landlord. So we had a kind of indoor yard sale (it was also the wettest spring on record). I had errands to run, so I left my spouse to met with a potential buyer. Calling him from a payphone, he was laughing so hard, I could barely understand him. (Yes, children, there once were working payphones on city streets.)
Apparently, as long as we were willing to throw in one more item for free, the guy was willing to pay the asking price and take away the furniture. The deal sweetener: a rather large blue vase I had rescued from the ceramics store/studio dumpster. Truly, a case of one person’s trash . . .
remembory for mlmm’s sunday writing prompt: one person’s trash