I’ve recently become the fourth owner of a coal bucket. It doesn’t seem like anything in particular; it’s dented and worn and the black paint is chipped but surprisingly doesn’t have any rust. The coal bucket was my great-grandmother’s at her home on Rossler Ave. near South Ogden.
It was used for its intended purpose for a while but like a lot of things became obsolete. The bucket probably sat in the basement, wondering when it was going to the curb. It was passed on to my grandmother at some point and she used it for various decorations inside her Orchard Park house, probably stacked with wood next to a fireplace or toys for my mom. She painted it a few times and even added stenciling to it, trying to rebrand it as something new.
It was then relegated to a basement yet again but managed to survive a move or two. When my mom took possession of it, she used it for years as an extra bucket for things in the garage when it wasn’t planted with geraniums from time to time. Now that I have a home of my own, my mom finds great joy in emptying my things from the basement. This coal bucket came with a load of items unexpectedly this summer. I decided to carry on that tradition of planting it and using it our beginner’s garden.
My west-side Buffalo home is the first in 50 or more years that would need even think of needing a coal bucket. It’s something that hasn’t quite found a permanent spot in our yard yet, but it will.
Maybe it’ll find a fourth life use here but for the moment, I like it as a planter.