You should know that I had a great childhood. Even though one of my most happy and fond memories is the week that my family rented a dumpster while we remodeled our kitchen and my sister and I spent all of our time playing in the dumpster.
Now, we didn’t just climb into a pile of junk and start rolling around in it. Oh no, we were classier than that. Chelsey and I were expert fort builders. We didn’t realize that all those years of building forts out of our couches, pillows, and blankets were mere preparation for our Dumpster Fort of 2003.
I should also mention that this dumpster is much bigger than what you’re probably imagining. It wasn’t the standard dumpster that opened from the top that you typically see in the back of various businesses, this was a jumbo dumpster. It was 2-3 times the size of a regular dumpster and opened from the front like a barn door. Though we truly believed it was much nicer than a barn.
We combined old pieces of wood to weigh down cardboard and make a roof, covering half of the dumpster from the harmful and gross outside world. This way, we could stay in the dumpster even if it rained. Thankfully for us, my family had thrown away our futon and various pieces of furniture, which allowed for us to have a comfy little mattress and other things to sit on.
I remember getting off the school bus and running as fast as I could straight into the dumpster. Diving in happily and feeling at home. Probably still with my backpack. I’m sure my mother would have been thrilled to know that the bus driver was well aware of how much time my sister and I spent in a dumpster once we got home. We probably even did our homework in there.
We almost instantly developed a very strange connection to the dumpster and immediately began trying to convince our mom that we needed to keep it forever. That way we could just throw our trash away in it all the time and never have to worry about trash day. It made complete sense, but for some reason our mom just couldn’t seem to get on the same page as us. It was very frustrating for us.
Meanwhile, while our kitchen was being redone, there was exposed foundation in part of our house. We knew what we had to do. Time capsules. We needed to leave a message to the future world. We had to let them know about what our lives were like. Because, almost definitely, one day, someone was going to demolish our house, look specifically under the kitchen foundation, and find 3 soda bottles stuffed full of letters and be absolutely fascinated and learn so much about what life was like for children “back then.”
Among other things, we included money, to show the future people what kind of currency we used. Unfortunately, the construction crew finished the kitchen and covered the exposed area beneath our house before we threw in our soda bottles. We very easily could have put them in ourselves days earlier, but we imagined a much more dramatic version of placing the time capsules.
In our heads, the construction crew would be laying the hard wood and we would race in, yelling, “Wait!” We would look at each other dramatically, nod solemnly, and drop our time capsules into the one unlaid piece of wood. Because in our minds, if you expose one piece of wood flooring, there is an open cavern beneath, perfect for time capsule distribution.
However, this little bit of fantasy did not get to happen for us. Instead, we missed dropping them in at all. Years later, we did open them. Amazingly, our currency was still the same! I’m sure if we had had access to pictures like we do now, there would’ve been a rolled up picture of our dumpster.