Nothing tells the story of your family more accurately than your refrigerator. Not what’s inside your refrigerator necessarily, although that would certainly tell a story, but it’s what is hanging all over the outside of it that really speaks volumes.
Refrigerator magnets have got to be the most unusual method of displaying an American family’s funniest moments, favorite places and proudest accomplishments.
I am not immune to the appeal of this weird tradition, but it makes me wonder where people hung all that stuff before there were refrigerators. Someone, somewhere, sometime said “Hey, I’ve got this huge metal box in my kitchen. I think I’ll throw some magnets on it.” That’s why plastic refrigerator doors don’t sell well.
Each time we take a trip I will take an irrational amount of time to pick out a refrigerator magnet that will best relate our experiences there to anyone who cares to look at our refrigerator. It has to be perfect. This is for posterity, after all. It will be hanging on my refrigerator for all eternity; or at least until some realtor tells us to take them down because nobody will buy our house with all those magnets on the refrigerator.
It’s not just the magnets, either. It’s the items the magnets are holding.
There is one of my oldest son and his girlfriend wearing red clown noses and sticking their tongues out. That right there is a proud moment. It is stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet in the shape of a pair of swimming trunks with dolphins and palm trees on it. This is the magnet my husband and I brought back from our trip to Key West on our 25th anniversary. The two would-be clowns will be getting married next year. Can you see the significance here? I need to be careful not to hang that picture up with anything that suggests a baby-anything until after their wedding. After the wedding, I may surround it with baby magnets!
I have a magnet that is a foamframed Halloween picture of my youngest boy. He was in preschool at the time. He couldn’t decide whether to be a pirate or a cowboy, so he was both. This picture is the catalyst for him actually making a decision on subsequent Halloweens. There is also one of him at two years old wearing a construction paper Native American headdress with a noodle necklace. It’s still there because it’s so cute! It’s being held by a magnet we got at a Cherokee reservation we visited.
We’ve got a magnet from the Petrified Forest because when we arrived there, everyone in the family had a stomach flu and we couldn’t actually see the park. So, we bought a magnet to prove we’d been there. This magnet is holding a picture of one son on his first day of kindergarten, eight years ago, and yes,. he was petrified.
There is a magnet of the zoo, the aquarium, and the Kennedy Space Center. One of California, New Mexico, and Philadelphia. I have one for historic places like, Williamsburg, VA, St. Augustine, FL and Charleston, SC. I even have one for Neuschwanstein Castle in Austria where I visited in 1985 and one for Old Faithful where I didn’t visit, ever. My mom brought it back from her trip there, just so I could pretend I’d been there.
My favorite magnet, though, has to be one that my daughter made in preschool. It’s a self-portrait. She drew a rectangular face, framed by blue hair. She made huge brown eyes, one bigger than the other, that have precisely 13 proportionally above-average eyelashes. Her mouth is a red line that encompasses most of her face. Anyone else might say that it looks like a demented zombie who was once the homecoming queen in her living years.
She even drew a very skinny tree in the background. Obviously, she was lacking some spatial planning here. Of course, no picture is complete without a yellow sun in the corner with conspicuous yellow rays beaming from it.
Who could take that magnet down?
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.