A Lifetime of Treasured Memories

A woman finds her ready-to-be-discarded fridge holds some sentimental value after all.

Posted in , Dec 2, 2013

An artist's rendering of a fridge covered with recipes, pictures, etc.

Out with the old, in with the new...refrigerator, that is. In a few hours the brand-new fridge my husband, Ben, and I bought would be delivered and our old one hauled away.

I wasn’t exactly sad to let it go. It had had a good run–17 years. Then the doors stopped sealing and the motor started squealing and we knew it was done.

“I’ll clean it before the delivery guys get here,” I told Ben.

I walked into the kitchen, figuring I’d make quick work of the cleaning. But standing there, looking at the fridge, I realized there was something that I didn’t want to let go. Actually, a lot of things.

There on the door was the itinerary Ben had drawn up for our dream trip to Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria three years earlier.

As I plucked the page off the fridge, the memories came rushing back–the romantic walks along the Rhine, the historic churches in Prague, the magnificent palaces of Vienna. The art and culture wowed us so much that we got memberships to the San Diego Museum of Art when we came home.

Next was a magnet a dear friend gave me when she moved away. “Good friends are like stars,” it read. “You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.” That reminded me–it had been a while since we caught up. I made a mental note to call her that night.

I spotted the invitation for my thirtieth high school reunion–what a blast that had been, reconnecting with old classmates. Beside it, a photo collage of our family, friends, grandkids, and Babe, our late flat-coated retriever, gone now for six years but beloved forever.

And what fridge door was complete without a little inspiration? I’d put up a collection of my favorite quotes, including a Bible verse perfect for the kitchen, I Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Now I took it all down.

I can’t believe all of this stuff fit on here! I thought as I started clearing the sides of the fridge. There was my friend Genny’s out-of-this-world tortellini soup recipe!

Genny volunteers at the church office where I work. One busy day she surprised our staff with a huge vat of the soup. “Here’s a little lunch surprise for you,” she told us. We still talked about how it warmed our bellies and our hearts.

I had to laugh when I came across three magnetic shopping-list pads–all unopened. Ben and I always ended up using scraps of paper.

Every day, for almost two decades, I’d seen this hodgepodge of items plastered on the refrigerator and not given it much thought. Yet every single thing–every photo, magnet and note–was a reminder of God’s love in my full, busy life.

The doorbell rang. “Delivery folks are here,” Ben called. Soon our trusted relic was gone. In its place was a gleaming white energy-saving model. A blank slate. I knew it was time to pack away some of my mementos, but what would I keep?

I decided to post the emergency numbers, library hours and kitchen measurements cheat sheet. My Bible verse. A Victor Hugo quote. And one–just one–magnetic shopping-list pad (which Ben and I promised ourselves we’d finally use).

Over the next few months new things made their way onto the door: photo magnets of our children and grandchildren. A handmade cross I bought on a retreat at the majestic Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside.

I’m sure every inch of the new fridge will be covered eventually, but for now, my favorite part is the empty space. That’s where I’ve left room for new memories...and new blessings.

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