Academic journal article The Southern Review

In Memory of Calvin Purvis

Academic journal article The Southern Review

In Memory of Calvin Purvis

Article excerpt

The galvanized trash can had to be picked up and carried to the curb if     you didn't want it to leave a chalky scar scraped snakewise down the driveway. The other men on the crew came and went, but Calvin     Purvis held fast to the back of the garbage truck year after year, lifting his gloved hand in salute to the neighborhood kids     on ten-speeds and coaster bikes calling out, "Hey Cal-vin!" in bright voices. We loved the hauler of our trash and     needed him to have a name. Even with twice-a-week pickup  it was a one-garbage-truck town. Nobody'd heard of recycling. We didn't    think much about trash except as a word to throw around, useful to describe reading material that wasn't approved    of, or people: any man sitting on a porch stoop during business hours--if you could push a broom, why weren't you    working a job?--or the brassy girls who showed up late for high school, always a hickey on their neck, then disappeared with    every intention of earning a diploma once the baby was born. … 
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