Dream of: 15 October 1982 "Submerged"

I was in my home town of Portsmouth, Ohio, talking with my father and my sister. I told my father I wanted to do something worthwhile that day. We concluded that people had thrown much trash and litter out along the roads and that I could go and pick it up.

My sister (13-14 years old) and I boarded a car and drove north on Rt. 23 about five kilometers to Rosemount, Ohio.

We stopped along the road at the first turnoff into Rosemount, stepped out of the car and crossed the road. On the other side was a ravine with litter strewn all about.

I had brought several white plastic garbage bags with me and I unfolded two of them. My plan was to put all worthless litter into one bag and all aluminum cans into the other. I was quite pleased with the idea. I had previously thought how someday I would like to go out to pick up litter to help compensate for litter I had at times thrown out. Moreover, the idea of making a bit of money in the process enthused me.

My sister and I went to work. Holding the two bags in my right hand, I began filling one with trash (mostly paper), and the other with aluminum cans. I was quite surprised by the number of aluminum cans lying around. When my sister asked me how much they were worth, I told her about one-half cents apiece. I tried to calculate how much we could earn in a day and concluded we would make \$48 if we worked all day.

My calculations were a bit bizarre. I figured 24 cans were in a pound. I thought I could find four cans per minute. I then divided 24 by 4 and reached 6 as a result. I therefore thought we would make \$6 an hour. If we worked 8 hours we would make \$48. But I wasn't quite sure I had calculated correctly and I thought I might need to divide the figure by one-half, meaning we would only make \$24 per day.

I found many cans. Some contained water which I had to pour out. Some cans were still held together by plastic in six packs. I stuffed them all into my bag. I likewise kept stuffing litter into the second bag.

A cement culvert was nearby. It was peculiar because on top the cement was about a half centimeter of Styrofoam. I kept looking at it; in one part a big piece of Styrofoam was broken off and just lying on the cement. I couldn't figure out why the Styrofoam was there. Litter was strewn all over it.

As we worked I found what appeared to be a bunch of mattresses piled up, stacked in such a way that they formed a kind of shelter. An opening was near the ground. I bent down and looked in. Apparently some children had made it. I saw several very large Sears' or Penny's catalogs inside. I thought the children probably came there to look at the lingerie section of the catalogs. I half felt like opening one and looking myself, but instead I stood back up and continued on with my work.

A few minutes later I noticed my sister had taken part of the shelter down and stacked some of the mattresses over by some trees. I walked back over to where the shelter had been and saw an unopened pack of Kent cigarettes lying on the ground. I picked them up and threw them toward my sister. I didn't want them, but she didn't either. They just lay on the ground. I also saw some other cigarettes lying there.

A car pulled up and three men climbed out. They were drinking beer and one fellow threw down a can. I immediately retrieved it and put it in my sack. I felt humble, but it wasn't a bad feeling. I knew I had studied law and that these fellows were probably just country bumpkins. It didn't bother me to be out there working. I felt as if I were doing something good. After a few minutes the fellows climbed back into their car and drove off.

My search led me down the road a piece until I came to a place where much litter was lying about. Someone had been working with the litter there and had arranged it in some order. A stand was there with a bunch of paperback books on it. I concluded that someone had picked up the books from along the road and put them in order. I looked at the books and thought one was by Charles Dickens.

I kept looking around and saw a tray with packs of cigarettes on it. Apparently someone had also found packs of cigarettes along the road and arranged them for sale

I also noticed a sack with a bunch of metal cans in it. They weren't smashed flat. I wanted them, but I was unsure whether they belonged to someone. I thought they must, but I didn't see anyone and I thought about taking them.

A rather ragged-looking man was standing off to the side. I thought that he must be a trash collector and that the cans belonged to him. I left them alone.

My sister spoke to me. We talked about a large city dump where we might be able to hunt for cans. I told her I knew of someone who did that. The idea sounded intriguing to me, but I didn't want to do it because in the dump we wouldn't be helping to clean up the environment by picking up litter. I still felt good about getting the trash off the highway and I didn't just want to work at the dump.

As I looked around I saw many more aluminum cans. I picked up one can which clearly had the word "aluminum" written across it. I thought it was peculiar that the other man hadn't already gathered up these cans, but I concluded that he probably only came around once a week and that these cans had been thrown out during the last week. I gathered up all the cans and when I saw no more, I crossed to the other side of the road.

There I found a little building which seemed more or less like an abandoned house. I walked inside and found the place in utter disorder. Apparently no one was living there, but as I walked through the rooms I found a back room which appeared to be inhabited. Although trash was lying about and things were in disorder, it appeared that someone had been living in the room. A bed and a few other pieces of furniture were there.

I saw some aluminum cans and thought I might as well go ahead and put them in my sack since they apparently were just trash. So I did.

Whoever had been staying in the room had cut out some pictures and put them in a little stack on a table. I glanced through the pictures and concluded that whoever had been there had cut out the pictures for a collage. That was interesting since I myself liked to make collages and I thought it would be nice to talk with somebody else who made collages.

I walked out of the room and into a toilet. There on the back of the commode I found another stack of pictures. I looked at them but I couldn't tell exactly what they showed. The most prevalent color was red with some yellow streaks. I thought that maybe the pictures had just been left here and that I could take them, but I didn't.

I walked into another room, saw a few pennies lying on the floor, and picked them up. I was more interested in them because of their metal value than because they were money. I stuck them into my can sack. I found another penny and picked it up. It was one of the pre-1960 wheat ear-type pennies. I looked at the date and thought it said 1939-s. I thought it might be valuable and I kept it.

When I walked back outside, I was surprised to see a crowd gathered on the opposite side of the road. They were looking over the bank at something. I could see a muddy river was flowing along there and I thought it must be the Scioto River. Its waters were swirling and the current appeared quite fast.

One man was talking in the crowd, explaining how a car had gone off the bank farther up the road. But apparently some kind of accident had also occurred right there. From where I was, I couldn't discern what had happened.

Suddenly a man stuck his head up from the bank. Apparently he had been down by the river's edge and had climbed back up the bank. He was very cool and calm. He pointed to a little spade lying on the ground by the crowd and he asked if it were a "Dig." Someone said it was and handed it to him. Then he disappeared back down the bank.

Meanwhile I had crossed the road and could now peer down over the bank. I was surprised and shocked at what I saw. There, visibly submerged beneath the water, was a car. It appeared to be a hot rod roadster. But what really surprised me was that at least one person, maybe two, was still inside the car.

The one person (whom I could clearly see) was moving around in the car which car seemed to be completely under water. I didn't see how anyone inside could be getting any air. I thought the man who had taken the spade was perhaps going to use it to pry open the door to free whoever was inside.

As I watched the person inside the car, I saw he was motioning toward us. He was waiving his hand back and forth motioning us to come to him. It was quite eerie.

Obviously something needed to be done. Since the people around me weren't moving, I immediately decided to do whatever I could to help. The bank was very steep and I didn't think I should try to jump down to the water's edge. Instead I saw some steps about 20 meters to my left. I ran toward the steps and started down them. I was unsure what to do. I was frightened because I realized if a drowning person grabbed someone who was trying to save him, the drowning person sometimes wouldn't let go and both persons would drown.