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Fridge Art ~ by Arlene Kroeker

I recently accompanied a friend to an appliance store and found myself staring at rows of refrigerators. And there, at the head of the pack, I watched a goldfish swimming through blue water on a fridge door. Okay, it wasn’t real - it was a screen saver - and I had just encountered the latest in technology: the LG Internet Fridge, a titanium side-by-side beauty with soft edges, a water and ice dispenser, long graceful tube-like handles, and a computer built into the door. The LG advertisement states: Some refrigerators organize your food. This one can organize your life
Contrast the techno fridge with the old-style fridge. The harvest gold, avocado green, or classic white square-edged relic has been updated so that it can organize your food, while many of the old-timers have been relegated to the garage where they do a fine job organizing beer and wine.

But the old-style fridge can organize your life. All you need is a collection of magnets. In no time you have decorated the door with kids’ artwork, favorite photos from your last vacation, a party invitation, the soccer schedule, a couple of discount coupons, a clipped recipe, and a gym membership card. Even the magnets reflect aspects of your life - sushi, a watering can, colorful pieces of the alphabet (perhaps missing a letter or two).

The new LG fridge isn’t magnetic. You would need to press a couple of buttons on the screen to see when the game is, to pull up that recipe, or to display your digital photos. Too much work. No instant gratification.

Several houses ago, I thought a stainless steel fridge would end what I saw as clutter. The magnet collection found a new home in a drawer and the kids’ artwork lay unappreciated in another drawer, the speeding ticket was put to rest and forgotten, the coupons expired, and we missed the hockey game. The only things that made it onto the fridge were fingerprints.
I tried a different tactic in the next house. I ordered maple panels that matched the cabinet doors and adhered to the fridge. Warm, instead of the cool of stainless, and yet, still not magnetic. A drawing of our dog is taped to the wood, as is a poem written by my daughter. Everything else has found its way to other areas of the kitchen.

We discovered that a portion of the hood fan is magnetic, so If in doubt, add more wine holds a Dairy Queen coupon and the kid’s school’s magnetic early warning phone number secures a clipped sweet and sour soup recipe.


A large painting of a bowl of yellow pears hangs on the kitchen wall and stuck in between the glass and the frame are postcards from Tofino, Venice, Bordeaux, and San Francisco, a Christmas photo greeting, many years of the kids’ school mug shots, a winning equestrian ribbon, my nephew’s hockey schedule, the chiropractor’s business card, the hair salon’s card, the optometrist’s card, and the next door neighbour’s phone number. I can’t see the pears anymore.

Stuff has to go somewhere. And the fridge seems the most convenient place.


When I leave treats for my bed and breakfast guests, I notice that they make use of the miniature Tupperware magnets I’ve left on their small white fridge -- parking tickets, pictures of their kids and pets, the number for pizza take-out, a coupon for Grouse Mountain.

The next time you’re watching television, look beyond the actors and into the rooms. The fridge art tells a story. I recently rented One Hour Photo with Robin Williams, and there they were, family photos on the fridge. Even Rachel and Joey’s fridge on Friends captures their lives - imaginary as it is.

I always pause in front of the fridge when I pay a visit to someone. The fridge is the archive center for the household. In a few minutes I know who had a new baby, where the next holiday will be, and when their car is due for an oil change.

The LG Internet Fridge may be the latest in technology. Yes, I could scan my empty milk carton and have the order immediately placed at the virtual grocery store and receive prompt delivery. Yes, I could follow along with Julia Child prepping lemon chicken. In between making breakfast and packing lunches I could send an email to my sister. And, while munching on last night’s leftovers, I could pay a few bills.

But for the bites and mega-whatevers that the $12,000 or so fridge offers, where do the little pieces of one’s life go? Where do the little love notes from your children go? The raffle tickets? The fortune from a lucky fortune cookie? The photos that make you smile? The stuff inside the fridge may be life sustaining, but so is the stuff stuck on the door.


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