Michel

The original post with address erased.

I did a little yard sale a few weeks back and returned home to a message from a reader. It contained a screenshot of a post on a local Facebook page informing people about an apartment being emptied in St Michel. I got the message many hours after the fact, and figured I was probably too late to find anything good. In the Plateau an obviously interesting trash pile (ie: one that attracts attention even from casual pickers) will often be ripped to shreds within a few hours.

I had planned on doing a trash run in the area regardless, so I went and checked it out just in case. As you probably expect by now, there were indeed still things to be found and the pile itself was surprisingly intact. The trunks in the original picture were long gone, but most of those bags and milk crates remained – and seemed largely untouched.

Maybe the pile survived that long because there’s less foot traffic in St Michel as compared to the Plateau. But it could also be that the stuff didn’t look all that interesting at first glance.

A lot of what I saved was stored inside old binders, the kind I would have used back in high school. But instead of containing old school notes these mostly contained old slides and photos.

I should be able to make a few bucks off the one binder of Expo 67 photos.

It contains about eight pages of slides, most of which look well shot and well captioned.

I think my photos of the slides came out pretty well all things considered. Some turned out better than others, but unfortunately I couldn’t spend too much time on them. If you want to zoom in on the photos below, click on them and find the “view full-size” button on the bottom right hand side of the screen.

My plan at the most is to auction them on eBay. I don’t usually do auctions, but I figure that Expo 67 market is reasonably hot right now, and auctions make it so that I don’t have to think too hard about pricing.

Otherwise, a lot of the photos feature various flora, fauna, and fungi. His knowledge of plants looks to have been pretty good, as many of them are captioned with their latin names.

These slides were the most usual. They were taken in Africa in the 50s and 60s …

… and this particular page features multiple elephants being butchered. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you have a weak stomach) my photo of this page didn’t come out as clearly as some of the others.

I wonder how common photos of Africa are from that era. I suspect they’re still common enough, but I’m sure they’re less common than tourist photos of Europe and North America. Personally, I’ve found photos from the north of Africa before (like Egypt and Tunisia), but never from the area around the equator. Most of these photos look to have been taken in Gabon, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic. It wasn’t immediately clear, from my brief study of the photos, what the photographer was doing in the area.

I also found binders of developed photos, including some of birds …

… and a few smaller albums filled with photos of local pow-wows. The location of these photos is unclear, but the other ones were taken in Kanesatake near Oka. They were all taken in the mid 1990s.

I found one film, a 16mm reel that was captured in Gabon in the 1950s. It could be interesting to digitize.

I also saved a pillow bag full of negatives that were taken in Nepal …

… and some smaller items suitable for the yard sale pile. The 80s watches are kind of neat, I’ll throw a battery in them and see if they work.

The coins were mostly from France in the 50s and 60s. The tokens on the right are for old French public telephones. None of these are worth much, but they’re good yard sale material.

All in all this was a pretty interesting pile. I would guess that the person who took the photos has passed on. If he was in Africa in the early 1950s that would make him at least 85 years old today. That’s not too old of course, but I have a hard time seeing someone deciding to throw away their life’s work like this. It’s a bit sad to find these things on the curb, but I like to think that he might have been happy to know that others are appreciating his work.

I owe thanks to the reader who informed me of this spot, as otherwise it’s unlikely that I would have happened upon it. If anyone else knows of an intriguing garbage pile, feel free to send me an email.

I plan on doing a yard sale tomorrow at 4096 Coloniale near Duluth. My storage space there is a total mess and I want to get it organized while it’s still warm out. Hope to see you there!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

Poésies d’amitié

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I got up early this morning, ate breakfast (my signature fried egg and avocado sandwich) with tea and went out to Rosemont. I considered going to Ahuntsic to spice things up a bit but in the end I felt too tired to go that far out of my way. It’s about 15 minutes just to get to the closest part of Ahuntsic while this section of Rosemont is only a few blocks from home.

I’m happy I stuck with Rosemont. I actually found some cool stuff (both old and new) this time around. I came across this pile on St Dominique near Dante.

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Inside one of the black bags were three cell phones. I’d bet the flip phones work but the Blackberry looks to have a busted screen. They have value still and they’ll eventually go into an Ebay lot auction once I have enough phones to make it worth while. I currently have six including those two I found last week.

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There was also a bunch of change. Don’t get too excited, those things that look like toonies are actually Italian lira. Still, there was about three dollars in usable change.

I put all foreign coins in a jar. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them, though when friends go travelling I sometimes give them the money I have from that country.

It seems silly to throw coins in the trash when there’s people walking around looking for cans every trash day. If you really don’t want your change I’d suggest just throwing it on the sidewalk, people will be happy to pick it up. This change is worth around 15 of the big cans and 30 of the small and it takes much less time to process.

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I saw this little box of fishing gear on Fabre. I doubt the rods are much good but the reels look fine. There’s also a couple plastic containers full of fake worms and other things typically used in fishing.

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In another spot I found a box full of kitchen utensils and glasses. There wasn’t much I needed but I opened the box so that passer-bys could see inside. I took these two nice beer glasses.

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My favourite finds came from this spot on Boyer. The contents of the bags looked to have belonged to an older person. There were bags full of Christmas stuff, some of kitchen / bathroom stuff, and also some more interesting stuff.

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There was a fair bit of candle making paraphernalia. I took some wax (“new” in box) and two small containers of candle adhesive that feature a fairly politically incorrect logo.

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There was also a good quantity of party-related supplies. I took this 1950s-era product made for labelling drinks (to help you make sure each person gets the right drink, of course). It’s fittingly called “Rite-Drink.” I googled the name but didn’t find anything like it. I guess it never took off. Still, it’s definitely got kitsch value.

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Some vintage sparklers made in West Germany.

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These two Catholic pieces were hidden inside a little metal Sucrets tin. They look to be made of silver. They’re both quite old, the one one the left being from 1960 and the one on the right 1950.

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This is the back of the one on the right. It was made to be hammered onto a door in recognition of the 1950 “Holy Year” proclaimed by Pope Pius.

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I’m not really sure what this is. It’s marked as sterling silver and looks like it’s meant to stand tall. It’s only 10 cm tall though and makes for an odd decoration. There’s looks to be a handwritten letter engraved on the bottom, maybe an E (the picture is below if that helps). Any ideas as to what it could be?

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These books have the potential to be the most interesting finds of all – “potentially” because my limited French makes them hard to read. Still, I know enough to understand the basic themes. The one on the left, dated 1898, is a “recueil de poesies d’amitié”, or a collection of love poems. The bottom one is titled “notes et pensées” (notes and thoughts), most of which are very religious and existentially based. Based on the style of the binding I’d say it was written around the same time as the other. Both are written by a “Côté” – the right by a Hélena and the other by what looks like a L.J.V.

These could be pretty cool to look through, too bad I’m not the guy who can do it. If I sit down and focus on them for a while (with a French-English dictionary at my side) I should be able to understand a bit more what is going on but it would still take a native French speaker to truly comprehend the various subtleties at play.

These could be brilliant works or they might not. Regardless, any kind of written word from this time frame is pretty intriguing, and knowing that in all likelihood these writings are totally unique is pretty satisfying. At the very least the handwriting is quite beautiful!

If you’d like a closer look, the top three pictures below are from the black book, the other two from the red.

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I went home and took pictures of all the things above. I wanted to eat something before I started writing so I decided to walk to a nearby Vietnamese place to get a tofu banh mi. I saw these bags on the way and decided to take a look. Inside were some fairly useful things. I left a few items on top of the bags for others to find, including some candles and a few decent purses. For myself I took some more spare change (a quarter and some dimes) and…

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…a working iPhone 3g. I charged it with a docking station I had previously found in TMR. The screen is pretty cracked but the touch screen actually works fine. I can’t use it because of the password but it’s still worth close to 30 bucks on Ebay. Now I have 7 phones to sell on Ebay, I’ll wait to find a couple more before I do an auction.

This was a pretty good day. I found some cool stuff, some of which has some monetary value and the weather was beautiful once again. It’s 5:15 and I’d like to take a nap but I may go out for the Thursday evening Rosemont route. I think this streak of warm weather may be encouraging people to do some cleaning. Basically, I’m feeling lucky.

“Recovered Time”

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I’ve been working today constructing a new blog that will focus on the photos and bits of ephemera I’ve found in the trash. It’s (currently, at least) called Recovered Time.

My first post contains the Expo 67 slides I had digitized which were my primary inspiration to start a trash photo blog in the first place. They are amateur photographs, many of which are quite beautiful and a great representation of someone’s trip to Expo. My next few posts will likely be pictures from the rest of the slides I found at that spot.

I have some more photos lying around, as well as a collection of old business cards and other ephemera that fit the theme. I’m looking into buying a scanner to help with this project.

Check it out if you’re interested!