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Carol Perkins: The story of our fridges

To say we are a spoiled nation is an understatement.
Next earlier column: Carol Perkins: Billy Graham and the salvation of Bill Wilson

By Carol Perkins

I stood in front of the opened refrigerator looking for lunch. Evidently, I thought something new was hiding behind the milk that I hadn't seen the previous night. After finding nothing tempting, I thought about the days when a piece of bread and a smear of butter would have satisfied the hunger. I was hoping to find a slice of ham to go on that bread.

While looking in the drawers and in the freezer on the side, I thought about the days when Guy and I first married and rented an apartment with its own fridge. I could see over the top of it. The freezer compartment held a few trays of ice but not much room for anything else. These aluminum ice trays, cold to touch, released the ice with a pull of a lever. There was no banging on the side of the counters to get the ice out. When we moved to another apartment that had no appliances, we found a used fridge for twenty dollars. The handle pulled down like a lever and the freezer coated over with ice at least once every two weeks.

When we bought our first home in 1972 and needed a refrigerator, I chose a modern one painted in an Avocado Green. Having this new appliance for me was like Guy having a new car. I especially liked the turntable feature on the inside. Back then, the shelves were metal instead of plastic, and it defrosted itself. I had been through the defrosting process of putting a pan of boiling water in the freezer, waiting for the ice that had gathered along the walls to melt. What a mess!

For the next twenty years, that refrigerator stayed with us. When we built a new home, my color scheme was yellow, so I debated whether to trade Old Faithful in on a new model or have it painted. I found a guy who repainted refrigerators and within a few days, I had a brand new "old" Harvest Gold fridge. Even though my stove was still green, I didn't care. It was a matter of time before it needed replacing and only a matter of time before the colored appliances were totally out of style. When that time arrived, that same refrigerator was given a coat of almond (off-white) and is now a back up in the garage.

My new (now ten years old) side-by-side is white rather than stainless steel, the "correct" color to use according to the House Hunters. Potential buyers turn their nose up at white appliances. "Guy, what if the value of our home goes down because we have white appliances?" His reply: "Are you planning to sell?" He missed the point.

There was a time when a family was lucky to have one refrigerator, but there are many families with a fridge in the basement, in the garage, and small ones in the kids' rooms so they don't have to move too far away from their video games. To say we are a spoiled nation is an understatement. By the way, every time I go to a "home store" I browse the appliance aisle just in case.

This story was posted on 2018-03-01 14:54:17
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