Fix it man drove nice Cadil­lac

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Opinion - Carol Weimer

This col­umn orig­i­nally ran on March 10, 2014. En­joy this oldie-but-goodie while Carol’s out sick.

Back in the day, ev­ery spring­time Canas­tota res­i­dents would gather up all the de­bris they cleared out of their houses dur­ing those long win­try days.

They would have them all ready when the vil­lage an­nounced the spring cleanup days (re­mem­ber those?)

All of the clut­ter would be placed on the curb and the DPW guys would come around and gather it up to be taken away. Many didn’t know it, but there used to be a dump at the end of Bar­low Street where I be­lieve a lot of it ended up.

That was be­fore we had the county land­fill.

Those piles of clut­ter told us a lot about our neigh­bors and what they had been do­ing these win­ter days.

We would find out who had a new room done over, a new hot water tank or fur­nace. The plas­ter, pan­el­ing or what-have-you is all out await­ing the vil­lage boys to come and get it. There may be pieces of lath when the walls in­side have been done over and per­haps in­su­lated.

We al­ways found it in­ter­est­ing when we would leave for work or go around town do­ing er­rands to no­tice some­thing of value placed at the curb. Some­times from one day to the next, that some­thing of value would dis­ap­pear from the curb overnight, we would no­tice.

Those years, we would no­tice a cer­tain per­son(s) who came into the vil­lage one day af­ter an­other and trav­eled the streets gath­er­ing many pieces from dif­fer­ent piles and plac­ing them in their car or truck or some­times an at­tached trailer he was pulling.

I re­mem­ber that one home­owner as he was plac­ing some­thing on this al­ready full col­lec­tion en­gaged the scav­enger in con­ver­sa­tion, find­ing out what he was do­ing. Be­cause he would gather bro­ken fur­ni­ture and other pieces of in­ter­est, worn tires, and just plain bro­ken ap­pli­ances.

He was a fix-it man you found out and once mended, painted or pol­ished, he would take the items to a nearby auc­tion.

It seems the man jour­neyed from town to town, kept track of cleanup days in each vil­lage, and made a liv­ing fix­ing up and sell­ing other peo­ple’s castoffs.

It wasn’t a bad liv­ing, ei­ther; he drove a re­cent model Cadil­lac when the fam­ily would go out for a drive.

He had some great sto­ries about an­tiques, too.

The neigh­bor who con­versed with him was amazed at some of the items he would find that were valu­able and he would be able to coin quite a piece of change for them.

He had picked up some re­ally good trea­sures dur­ing his trav­els. In or­der to do this, he had to know the value of pieces that ap­peared to be an an­tique. With a coat of paint or strip­ping a piece and re­fin­ish­ing it know­ing that many per­sons don’t know when an an­tique is re­fin­ished it has lost some of its value and would bring a good price.

He told him about lamps, many tools from car­pen­ters and farm­ers. There is a whole lot to be said for tools and pieces of ma­chin­ery or equip­ment. He ven­tured to say that one day he might write a book on his es­capades.

I can con­fess that I was one of those who did see a pair of chairs that would fit nicely in a bed­room or two. The only prob­lem was that the up­hol­stery on the seats was worn out.

I stuck them in my car, took them home, re­fin­ished the wood­work, pur­chased the suit­able ma­te­ri­als for the seats, and even­tu­ally had two beau­ti­ful straight back chairs for two bed­rooms. I also re­mem­ber a friend of mine who picked up an iron­ing board in per­fect shape, which she took home with her

Those were the days. Wasn’t it great?

In those days, there wasn’t as much pop­u­la­tion as there is to­day, and the present county land­fill op­er­a­tion works much bet­ter than days of yore.

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