July 2, 2010
I watched almost hourly as the dirt came out of the ground. My girls and I would jump on the mounds and sort through the debris. Shards of pottery were plentiful as were old rusted nails. We were rewarded on occasion with several identifiable pieces such as these four early bottles. The small green bottle dates to the late 1700s and was most likely a medicine bottle.
This tattered piece of paper is really yellowed with age and was written by a doctor for a small patient around 1828. I found this along with many other amazing documents and letters inside a box destined for the trash heap.
I see this a lot and am often saddened to see someone's lifetime put up for sale at an auction or
estate sale. I have stacks of papers and images of people from the past. I can't bare to part with them because they also fuel my imagination and even play a major role in my writing and teaching. I take on their memories and their lifetime.
My students learn to place themselves inside the pictures. They learn to build stories based on other people's lives. They share dreams and learn to use all their senses in developing their own writing.
Back to the bottles and the doctor's orders. In the true sense of the cliche, one man's trash is another man's treasure, digging in dirt can be rewarding.