Waynesboro’s First Bag Lady
Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham
“Remember me? You wrote about me a few years ago. Said I was ‘the first bag lady of Waynesboro.’ ”
Of course I remembered her. Bonnie Kiblinger. Collects aluminum and just about everything else, takes it all to the recycling center, donates the proceeds to area nonprofits.
Been doing it since before I was born.
But she’s got more than she can handle now.
“I’m getting old. I can’t do it anymore,” she said to me yesterday.
She’s been set up on Maple Avenue just up the street from my office for as long as anybody can remember.
“I’d say about 40 years or so, but I didn’t keep track,” she said.
Which is to say, she was into recycling before Al Gore inspired “Love Story” and had ever dreamed of the Internet, much less been accused of having claimed to have invented it.
“I’m trying to get people to just take their stuff to the recycling center themselves now,” Kiblinger said.
Which won’t help her out as far as her goal of using the proceeds from her weekly trips to the center to help the local free clinic and other worthy charities is concerned.
“They won’t get the money. The city will. But …”
Kiblinger and her volunteers are all getting on in years, she told me.
“And we just can’t handle it anymore. The heart is there, but it’s just too hard to keep up,” she said.
“Would you please put this on your website?” she asked me.
“I know we’re still going to have people dropping stuff by, but it’s just a couple of miles away. They can drive two miles and drop it off just the same as I can.”
I assured Bonnie that I would pass the word on – and she said she’d have to take me at my word.
“I don’t have a computer. Don’t have the Internet,” she said.
“I figured I’ve made it this long without one. I just hope you don’t need to know how to use one to get into heaven, because then I might be in trouble.”
My reckoning – with all she’s done, God can make one exception.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.