Don’t Throw That Away
August 1976

“Don’t Throw That Away,” Ensign, Aug. 1976, 46

Don’t Throw That Away

My husband has become well-known at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Massachusetts where he works as a lab technician.

“Don’t throw that away, Johansen will want it” is the way his name is getting around.

“Don’t throw that away … ,” and he brought home discarded five-gallon plastic containers that were used to hold saline compound. They now decorate our closets, hallway, and the top of the refrigerator, while holding our precious water supply.

“Don’t throw that away …” and we became proud owners of a room full of foam rubber—packing that was delivered with a large, expensive piece of lab equipment. We used that in wonderful ways: stuffing for animals to give to an orphans’ home at Christmas, and stuffing dolls for our own two little girls. We left several pieces whole, covered them, and they now adorn our living room as throw pillows. The benches at the dining table boast covered pieces of foam rubber. We even have saved several large pieces to use in the station wagon as a mattress during trips.

“Don’t throw that …” This time the prize was a pile of Styrofoam squares. What would we do with these? Another lab technician shared his idea—draw cartoon characters on them, paint them (crayons, we discovered, work just fine and are cheaper), cut them out, and hang them. Where? In the hallway, showing a Winnie-the-Pooh scene, in the Church nursery, in a child’s bedroom. We even made a sad penny and a happy penny to use in the Primary Penny Parade!

“Don’t throw that away. …” The car was loaded down with pieces of thin leather that we turned into so many things. Very large irregular pieces of white, drawn on and painted with felt-tip pens, made beautiful wall hangings. These we sent to our mothers and several other friends for Christmas presents. Little circles of the white were colored in and cut out in shapes of Christmas bells, candy canes, packages, and doves, then were hung on the tree, the wall, Christmas packages, and around our necks on leather strings. Lots of white leather circles were glued together to make belts that tied with leather strings. Out of the black were made a pair of leather trousers for Dan with matching backpack to use when he rides his motorcycle, a nice purse to give to the orphans’ home, and a pair of house slippers for mom.

“Don’t throw that away” has become a familiar phrase with our children, too, as they drag home a never-ending stream of “finds” with endless schemes on what to do with them.

“Don’t throw that away,” they say, and they laugh sometimes.

“Keep laughing,” I tell them, “but DON’T THROW THAT AWAY!” Mary Johansen, Chelsea, Massachusetts