Post-Christmas rush at the Wellesley RDF; and a relic of a bygone era appears

The post-Christmas rush hit the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility hard, with cars lined up in each direction on Great Plain Ave., just waiting to unload the holiday detritus. Family vehicles were jam-packed with everything from empty boxes, to the empties that come with merry making, to food waste from feasts. Thanks to sharp-eyed reader SM, who sent along the below pic.

Wellesley RDF
Wellesley RDF. Photo credit SM

The things they carry

Although the Reusable area is closed for the season, one of the area’s volunteers recently sent along a picture of an item that passed through that made everyone pause for a moment.

There are items that make time travel briefly possible. An old Singer sewing machine is one of them. One glimpse at the antique and there I was, back in Grandma Mary’s spare room in Shelton, Connecticut. The space was part utility room, part creative sanctuary, where bolts of fabric leaned against the wall in one corner and a rainbow of thread spools were organized on a hanging rack. The good scissors—never to be used for anything except cutting fabric—hung on a peg over the old pedal-operated machine. At one time, a sewing machine was an appliance every bit as essential to a well-run home as the coal-burning furnace, or the iron.

Wellesley RDF, Singer sewing machine
Wellesley RDF, Singer sewing machine

RDF volunteer Priscilla Messing says, “We see all kinds of common household items left at the Wellesley Reusable area. Some items are not as common as others, and at times some of these items are very sentimental.”

When the the over 100 year-old Singer came in, volunteers reverently lifted the top, and up popped the black and gold Singer sewing machine. The drawers still held a pristine collection of bobbins, needles and thread. What also made this find special was the note from the owner, hand-written in perfect Palmer penmanship. This item came with a story, one that told how the machine was a gift from mother to daughter when the young girl was 16 years old.

Wellesley RDF, Singer sewing machine
The note found with the Singer sewing machine reads, “My Dear Sweet Mother gave me this machine when I was 16 years old. God Bless her. I miss her so much.”

Messing said, “It took my breathe away as I recalled my mother giving me a sewing machine when I was 14. My first machine was an old Singer, and it never broke down. My mother taught me how to sew when I was 14, and those lessons served me well. Making my own clothes when I was a preteen made me the envy at all the dances in the 60’s ( at least that is how I felt). It gave me self confidence that I had no idea I even possessed. I’m sure the owner of this machine felt a similar feeling of self direction.”

Volunteers see so many stages of like pass though the Reusables area. Sometimes, among the plastic toys, the contents of kitchen junk drawers, and the stacks of old National Geographic magazines, items are dropped off that seem to deserve some reflection. On an otherwise ordinary day at the Wellesley Reusables area, the Singer sewing machine was one of them.


Wellesley RDF hours:

Mon. – Wed.: 7am – noon
Thur., Fri., Sat.: 7am – 3:45pm
Sun: closed