The truck, which is a 1955 Dodge, is five years old at the time, it being the summer of 1960.
Rufus Opossum is the janitor / maintenance animal at the Torrance County School in Estancia, New Mexico. During the summer, Rufus Opossum's job doesn't keep him very busy being that the only students presently attending school are the few who have to make up a failed class in summer school... ...Thus, during the summer, there is plenty of time to run the scrap metal that has been accumulating in the old bus during the regular school months.
In the early afternoon of August 1st, 1960, Rufus Opossum and his wife, Laura, are loading up the truck to make a run to the scrap metal yard during the following morning...Meanwhile, their oldest daughter and two sons are across the highway taking turns riding their minibike on the dirt paths. Their two younger daughters are over by the 1953 Plymouth station wagon playing with their dollhouse and plushie dolls. The material in the black and orange, 55 gallon drum is copper pipe, as well as the piece that Rufus is carrying out of the bus...In the green drum is aluminum...Scrap tin and steel is being loaded in the rest of the bed. ...The copper alone even back in 1960 should bring a good chunk of money from the scrap yard in Albuquerque.
How Rufus Opossum came into ownership of all that copper was; During the summer of 1959, the school campus complex, including the elementary school, middle school and high school, had a much needed renovation done of the plumbing systems...The old piping was in pretty bad shape, and it was all copper pipe. As for the few students attending summer school in 1959, classes were moved to the first building where the new plumbing was installed when the rest of the buildings were upgraded. As each building was finished being upgraded, the school board was going to have the old pipe taken to the dump. Back in those days, lots of stuff that could be recycled was often thrown away, being that most animals didn't want to bother with taking the time it would take to scrap out any of it. However, Rufus Opossum was willing to take the time to scrap the old copper pipe, and asked the school superintendent, "That's a lot of money's worth of copper you all are going to throw away. Would you mine if I have it?" The superintendent, a Great Dane, was thinking about it for a moment when a wolverine with the school board advised, "If we let Rufus take it away, it will save us the dump fees. And save the time it takes to have the county works department run it to the landfill". The superintendent finally agreed with the wolverine, "That's good thinking", then said to Rufus Opossum, "Rufus. It you want that old copper piping, it's yours". Rufus Opossum was certainly thankful to get all that old scrap copper pipe...Being it was during the summer vacation of 1959, Rufus had plenty of time to make the hauls needed of that old copper pipe to take it home in his truck to stockpile into that old bus.
In the summer of 1960, collecting that old copper pipe is now paying off.