Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Faithful Fridge

In 1973 my parents bought a small wood frame house built sometime after World War II. The fixer upper had all original appliances some of which my dad swore came over on the Mayflower. The ancient ice box was soon replaced by a new refrigerator from Frigidaire, the same company that invented the self-contained refrigerator in 1916.

Made before “planned obsolescence” trickled down to appliances, the Frigidaire ran and ran and kept on running. Over the years, its housemates, toasters, televisions and telephones came and went; their stamped circuits no match for over use, power surges or Florida humidity.

But for thirty years the “Frige” did its job quietly and efficiently, never once calling in sick or taking a day off. It was only during hurricane driven power outages that we realized the importance of “old faithful.”

About five years ago the Frigidaire began leaking from somewhere deep in its mechanical innards. Its dry rubber seals began peeling off like shedding snake skins. Finally, the compressor started making large clunking sounds, causing visitors to exclaim, “What in the world was that?”

We knew it was time for “Frige” to go. As often happens, a few days after we decided to pull the plug, I was given a practically new refrigerator. Lightweight and energy efficient, the Hotpoint looks sleek compared to the squat coils-in-the-back Frigidaire.

Yesterday we made the switch and with much effort pushed and pulled the old Frigidaire out to the curbside. In a final act of indecency, we removed the doors, and “Frige” stood naked to the world and people using the laundromat across the street.

Taken from its familiar kitchen environment, the dismembered Frigidaire looked unrecognizable; a derelict chunk on the urban roadside. After thirty-five years of loyal service, it deserved better.

Postscript: I wanted to take a photograph of the Frigidaire and drove over early the next morning. It was already gone and I am hoping an industrious family resurrected old faithful for another ten years of chilling service.

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