Consumerism has a holiday. A pagan festival to the God’s of commerce that some call Black Friday. After recovering from our day of Thanks, Americans fill suburban retail spaces with wants and needs. I tend to go a different direction and troll the dumpsters while attentions are diverted. While in Ballwin (Missouri), at the outer edges of St Louis civilization where the McMansion divisions lay open and protected by private security, I found a rare saxophone and other forgotten objects on their way to trash oblivion.
Rounding the curve, the orange dumpster blocked the driveway of the nice house. Items stuck out speaking of garage junk. This wasn’t a rehab, it was death purge. I could smell it. The boots and leather jacket caught my eye first and a box full of electronics with a broken laptop. The strange yellow tri-pod with an odd top was curious item, a red bird in a green forest. This Death purge had a garage vibe, with a bicycle, exercise device and huge amount of storage type boxes. As I pushed aside a bag of Christmas wrap and decorative paper, that’s when I saw the case, black and square with an old metal label. Flipping the latches what was revealed was a beautiful saxophone@ , and then I found a clarinet. With such great treasures and a worry for County cops with the dumpster visible from the road, I vowed to come back.
The story that unfolded was very curious, after bringing a dumpster diving newbie back the next day. It is a kind of code among dumpster divers if you bring a dumpster diving trash virgin, the luck will flow. The items revealed that day were as amazing as the first day. A wonderful black bicycle was beautiful and replaced my old junky off road bike. The exercise device turned out to be a dog scooter was used to pull a hyper dog like a Alaskan dog-sled, I also discovered paper lanterns, an air compressor, and the yellow tripod it turns out went to some high powered utility lights. Two boxes of books were uncovered, one that said “Ralph”, which was filled with the photography books and one that said “Deborah”.
The saxophone sat safely in my house, till one day I decided to look it up. My assumptions were it was a simple instrument. The name Martin Handicraft sent me down a rabbit hole. It turns out it is a 1939 tenor saxophone with what is described as an “skyline” etching. A desired horn for it’s deep rich sound, enjoyed by Jazz heads and music geeks. Another page is needed for that story but it’s value was impressive, unfortunately it needs some work to return to the world of music. The clarinet was a French made brand called Buffet, and was made in Paris with silver keys, a was a top of the line/desired tool for orchestra performing, valued near or above 2000 dollars. The Dog Scooter is a 300 dollar expense. Ironic that my Black Friday find was too be the most “valuable” find I have ever found in regards to monetary aspects.
Often with Dumpster Archeology the story maintains it’s mystery. The saxophone called to me to be played and my goal is it’s needs. The Dog Scooter is in the hands of a woman named Dawn who owns a Boxer, a dog breed known as having high energy. The Air compressor is in the hands of my own old maintenance guy. The leather jacket was used and then lost forever in the Dream Manager Project. This dumpster story so far is less about the people and the objects that were still able to be used into the future.
“This dumpster so far is less about the people and the objects that could still be used into the future.”