Building Blocks (HoJo dumpster diving)



On warm summer nights in 1961, the kids would gather on Reisterstown Road in the upper northwest area of Baltimore, Maryland.  Sure the pinball machines in the bowling alley were fun, and, of course, so was a game of duckpins.   However, when the sun started to set, it was the aroma of rancid food that called out.  Yes, the dumpsters next door at the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant Commissary were a magnet.  For inside the dumpsters was a treasure trove of out of date pastries, eggs, and pies.

The smaller boys would do the HoJo dumpster diving – wanting to, or not – and retrieve the gems.  Once the night’s ammunition was sorted and divided amongst the group, the trucks traveling along Reisterstown road were fair game.  Oh, it was a necessity to be able to run fast.  It was also a given that anyone who opted out of the night’s fun, became the first target.

However, the lore of the dumpster Siren did not last long for – an unidentified – young teenager.  For the call of the real, and far more dangerous, Sirens became too strong.  One could argue that Baltimore Cult legend Don Ameche, thanks his Ameche’s drive-in restaurant, that was just around the corner, ‘helped clean-up Reisterstown Road’.


Obviously, one did not want to be wearing old pastry, or reek of rotten eggs, when he met a young lady.

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.


8 thoughts on “Building Blocks (HoJo dumpster diving)

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