In the old days, a woman would bring a dowry with her into marriage. This was typically property or money or a combination of the two that was then given to her husband and, if you have ever read a Jane Austen novel, you’ll know it was commonly used as leverage to give her the best options for a good match.
In 1998, I brought a kind of ‘dowry’ into my own marriage in the form of property. It was a 20+ year old refrigerator that had belonged to my parents and my new husband was just as grateful for it as I was for the 10″ hand-me-down television that he contributed to our nuptials. It didn’t have a remote but we were blinded by love and didn’t really care.
10 years and two kids later, we moved into a new-to-us home and, having left a brand new refrigerator in the house we had just sold, we once again inherited an old one. It was original to the home which was built in 1992.
We could have replaced it, but it worked. And with many, many other projects needing our immediate attention, replacing a working refrigerator simply because it was an older model just wasn’t a priority. And years later, when we had the cabinets painted, the fridge was still working so we just had the paneling on the doors painted too.
But, inevitably, there came the day when food that was supposed to be just cold was frozen instead. And strange noises started coming from the general direction of that corner of the kitchen. It had a good run, but we knew it was time to finally say goodbye to this relic.
So, Robb and I decided that our Christmas gift to each other would be a brand new refrigerator.
And, I gotta tell ya, I had forgotten what it was like to have all of the food stay at the same temperature. And, this drawer freezer? You guys it is the BEST!
Between the increased storage, two ice makers, in-door water/ice system, glass shelves and a layout that is far more functional for our family, we feel like we have finally caught up to the new era.
My kids, who had grown up with the 1992 refrigerator must have said, “this feels so fancy!”, a dozen times within the first few days.
But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There was apart of me that was sad to say goodbye to the relic. It was the last remaining appliance in our house that belonged to another time. Even the 20 year old washer and dryer set we purchased from Montgomery Ward had to be replaced last year.
Obviously I don’t miss the times I pulled out a bag of carrots only to discover them frozen.
But in this culture where we so easily dispose of the old, even when it’s not broken, to make way for the latest and greatest, I felt kind of proud of the fact that we waited until we absolutely had to replace that relic.
In fact, we still haven’t replaced the original counters in this kitchen but are hoping to this year as we are noticing more cracks appearing and will have saved enough money to be able to pay for them outright without accruing any debt.
With our social media feeds filled with a steady stream of seemingly ‘instant’ makeovers and the push to constantly upgrade to the most current trend, there’s just something to be said for acknowledging the fact that it’s ok to live with the relics. It’s ok to take your time, to wait until you have the money saved up and to make do with the old before you run out and purchase the new.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like we need to hear more voices talking about delayed gratification and making sensible decisions. We need to hear more about newlywed couples who are just scraping by and are content with their hand-me-downs. Who don’t have the money to buy their dream home right away complete with his and her closets, a craft room and a man cave.
So, I’ll keep being one of those voices. Someone who talks about her kitchen that wasn’t transformed in a week or a month or even a year.
But, instead, it was slowly brought up-to-date, one piece at a time, paid for in cash and appreciated all the more for it.
And, how about you? Do you have any relics in your home?
I’d love to hear about them!