Landfill Memories

I took my two Yorkies, Max and Ralph, on a tour of the now long closed Cumberland Landfill off Albion Road. We jointly ignored the no trespassing sign and headed up the road.

In the foggy memory of my eight-year old self, a trip to the landfill was full of excitement and wonder. We marveled at the mountains of discarded junk, directed by the on-site manager to what seemed to me unorganized piles of treasure. Do not make the mistake of tossing the wrong item in the wrong pile. If you did, you risked facing the wrath of the Junk Commandant.

The man took his job very seriously.

I thought he had the coolest job in the world.

Whenever I revisit somewhere I have not been for years, in particular a place that holds memories, I try to recall the last time I was there. I wonder if I realized then that it might be years or even decades before I returned.

A bit nostalgic over a landfill you might say, but just think of the treasures and memories buried there.

My first red big boy bicycle. A memorable birthday gift. I recall pushing it all around the yard because I could not ride it.

It is buried there.

My entire collection of G.I. Joe equipment, including my astronaut G.I. Joe Gemini space capsule which I flew around my yard and house for hours and hours, imagining being in earth orbit.

It is buried there.

My first baseball glove that I used throughout Little League while dreaming of playing for the New York Yankees (never the Red Sox, I wanted to win a World Series not watch it on TV.)

It is buried there.

A short wave radio that my neighbor built for me. I would listen to broadcasts from around the world, in languages I could not begin to understand, imagining I was helping win the Cold War. Sometimes, I would tune in signals that were purely electronic, imagining they were from another civilization out in space reaching across the Cosmos just to talk to me.

It is buried there.

My first guitar.

It is buried there.

The remnants of the things of an earlier time.

They are all buried there.

It is funny how our possessions go from new, to used, to old, to discarded. They return to us in memories from all those years ago.

Many of the things I once cherished, including a pair of purple crushed velvet bell-bottom pants that I thought were the height of cool, are now hidden beneath oak and elm trees. Some things deserved to be buried, never resurrected even in memory, purple crushed velvet bell-bottoms especially.

I hold onto the memories of the things I once cherished. Not in a desire to return to that time, but because each of them contributed to my progression through this life. There was a time to be that young boy full of dreams and a time to grow up. By holding onto memories, we can preserve that sense of wonder and the possibilities of imagination.

To Max and Ralph, the landfill was just some new growth trees with the occasional piece of rusted metal or plastic piece protruding from the ground. Things to smell and explore.

To me, it holds much of the things of my youth.

I wondered, as the dogs inhaled all the aromas and smells of the area, if they caught a wisp of an eight-year old boy and his G.I. Joe, a boy looking at clouds and seeing dragons, a boy all too soon grown to manhood.

I hope so, because I hold those memories close to my heart.

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