Refrigerator archeology

A photo collage off my fridge.

When my husband was writing about politics during the 2004 presidential election, he had the opportunity on separate occasions to question the two running mates of the presidential candidates.

Politics aside, an older reporter from an Iowa newspaper asked  U.S. Senator John Edwards an intriguing question: “What’s in your pockets?” He dug into his pants and jacket pockets but had no money or identification. What he had were words of encouragement and drawings made by his youngest kids.

What you have in your pockets says a lot about you. What you post on your refrigerator also does some talking.

I filled a small box of things Monday morning in anticipation of our new refrigerator (see previous blog post for why we needed to replace it). I found intriguing items that together form a kind of timeline of our family life. Items went back at least a couple of decades and some are yellowing with age.

What did I find in this archeological – albeit surface – dig?

  • A 1999 clipping from the La Crosse Tribune with Maggie’s photo as prom queen at Logan High School. I was on the fifth grade safety patrol trip to Washington DC when her reign was announced so I was not there for her installation. My year as the “queen mum” was over so quickly.
  • Also, in about 1999, Michael created an invitation to a surprise party for his birthday. We fixed him – we really gave him a surprise party the day before he thought the fake surprise was to be held. Michael jumped when his friends shouted “Surprise!” and told us to never do that again.
  • A 1982 holiday card made from a photo of Matt and Maggie at Maggie’s 2nd birthday in September of that year. That was also the year Matt’s leukemia was diagnosed in mid December right after his 5th birthday.
  • A 2000 ad placed in the La Crosse Tribune alerting the world that I had two teenagers in the house – for one day only. Gasp! Their birthdays are six years and 363 days apart which means there was were only two days in their lives when they were both teenagers – September 21 and September 22, 2010. Maggie came home for the 22nd – which we called the between the birthdays celebration – but returned to college for her own. All of a sudden my two teenagers stormed around the house, slammed doors and yelled, “You just don’t understand me!” I loved it.
  • An unchecked lottery ticket from May 2012 and a 30 percent off Kohl’s coupon that expired in May.
  • A retirement poster for my husband’s party in 2010.
  • A photo of Michael as one of the bad kids in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at La Crosse Community Theater. Here he is presenting a canned ham to the baby Jesus. He started rehearsals for that play the day after his Bar Mitzvah.
  • Various out of date magnets, including eight-year-old calendars, the monthly cost of my mother’s storage unit in 2001 and one with phone numbers for a former savings in loan in La Crosse.

What have I learned from this exercise about myself? There was so much stuff on my fridge – this is not all  and there was more on the sides – that I was beyond seeing many of these items.

Also, perhaps if I had checked that lottery ticket I would have had the big bucks to spend with my 30 percent off coupon from Kohl’s.

What’s on your fridge? What stories can you tell about these items?