Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2005

Junkyards and popcorn

May 5, 2005

Before trash hauling in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, Lansing had many unofficial junkyards, usually to stop a ditch from washing out from heavy rains or just a low spot in the back yard. Everyone needed a place to put their junk.

So I would make the rounds to see if I could find something of value. My dad saw me haul many things home. One time I found an old kerosene heater that was down by the Railroad Bridge on Maple Lane, which is now Ida Street. I started up the driveway in front of our house dragging this rusty heater. My dad didn't talk much, but when he did, you better pay attention. He spotted me and yelled, "Don't bring that thing in this yard." So I continued south to the railroad tracks that crossed the highway at Kansas and Minnie (Main) and doubled west to the North-South tracks that went behind the grade school and our house. I hid the heater in the woods but did not bring it into our yard. A few days later, Henry Kenaga and I built a wood fire in that old heater and popped popcorn with butter Henry sneaked from his house. Boy, was that good. After Henry and I ate all we could eat, I took a big paper grocery sack full to my dad because I knew he loved popcorn. I always thought he knew how we popped it, but he never did ask. By the way, I also found the popcorn popper in a junkyard. I could not believe someone would throw something that valuable away.

During World War II, there was a scrap metal drive and everyone's junkyard made a contribution to this effort, including the old heater. There was a pile at least 10 feet high and 70 feet long south of the grade school and another one west of the high school that contributed to the war effort.

If we had the EPA back then, I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun.


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