December 13
At my best, I try to be a voice for children. At my very best, I help them find their own voice. ************************************ We don't accomplish anything in this world alone...and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something. - Sandra Day O'Connor * ************************************


Mamoore's Links
JANUARY 3, 2010 9:19AM

Cleaning Out the Fridge Day

Rate: 33 Flag


                          mom's christmas leftovers


One half eaten apple wrapped in re-used foil.


One small steamed pudding with brandy sauce, both solid as a rock.


One chunk of gorgonzola buried deep within the fruit drawer.


One Ziploc bag of soggy salad, dressed with precious balsamic vinegar and olive oil over a week ago.


One piece of bacon, not wrapped or even on a plate, laid purposefully on top of the eggs.


One container of sliced fruits: oranges, mangos, kiwi, apple, all waiting for your breakfast oatmeal for the last two weeks.


Speaking of oatmeal…


One small Ziploc of oatmeal, made your extra special toasted in the pan way, that you said you would reheat before you left.


For three weeks, I watched you slice, and chop, and bake, and try to please.  Your hands just slightly shaking as you wrestled with the dried figs until you finally gave up and used apricots.


Reveling in the glory of feeding others, a luxury you don’t get at home.


In years past, those little baggies and half-wrapped apples would have been the cause for argument.  I would have thrown them away when you were out of sight.  You would know just where you had put your soggy salad and look at me accusingly when you couldn’t find it. 


This year, I learned to laugh at what you couldn’t overcome.  Habits from the Depression that have lasted your lifetime.


Silly. I’m crying.


Each of those little parcels represents a piece of you.  Pieces that feel like they are disappearing too fast.  It feels wrong to put them in the trash.



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Powerful and endearing appliance archaeology. I loved this.
A great post about a mundane thing we do in life that takes a piece of our heart with it. Happy New Year!
Thank you for a wonderful post!!!
You are an amazing mother and a truly precious daughter. I sure love you.
My grandmother, whom I lived with for most of my life, had the most treacherous fridge I've ever encountered. We kept everything in reused foil and reused Ziploc bags (they were always inverted and drying on the kitchen counter.) She went through phases where we intentionally grew things in the fridge - like sprouts. The fridge was one of those huge SubZero deals with all the shelves in the door and they were filled with bottles of all kinds of odds and ends. After she passed away I wrangled the housekeeper and we gutted the thing. There were bottles of things that had been in there for 4 or 5 years past their expiration date and I had to convince the housekeeper they really needed to go - she'd been helping with the collection and cultivation process for 30 years. It was like an archaeological dig :)
You are a sweetheart.
So lovely and poignant, Melissa. This reminds me of my grandmother's refrigerator when she went into the hospital for the last time. Having survived the depression, she used to wash and re-use Saran wrap and aluminum foil. After she died, it felt wrong tossing her carefully preserved food items, as if we were throwing away a part of her.

I totally get this. You've captured it perfectly.
Maybe I should invite all of you over for a foil/plastic wrapped feast...

Kathy - Yes, quite an expedition!

Mary - I dropped my mom at the airport yesterday and I had been looking forward to purging the fridge. I was caught by surprise at how sad it felt.

Robin - thanks.

Fishing - You're welcome. I'm sure when your kids moved out you must have done some melancholy purging of your own.

Ann- I try my best. Love you right back!

bobbot - You would really say "wow" if I had photgraphed the baggie of salad!

surly- My mom's home fridge is a whole different kind of adventure, and then there's her pantry and spice shelves. When she moved to WY from my childhood home 25 years ago, she moved canned goods that still sit on her shelf to this day. There are some spice cans that have $0.15 price tags on them. And don't get me started on the baggies, everything goes into baggies because tupperware takes up too much room. Gotta love her.
Oh I understand completely. My daughter goes back to college today. It is far away and i cannot bear to throw out her half eaten cheese.
@ma- between that and the shoe collection... I totally want to raid your mother's house.
Beautiful post. You are lucky to have each other.
cartouche - I know you understand the ups and downs of this one first hand!

Lisa- Thanks. I remember helping to clean my grnadma's house after she died and finding 3 sets of teeth buried in her bathroom closet, I am sure they had been lost years ago. Now that was something none of us felt the need to keep.

Joan - Aw, my kids are still living at home but I can imagine that I would be sleeping with that hunk of cheese under my pillow.

surly- Your dream can come true. She has it listed on VRBO!

Jane- thanks. I am loving all your good news posts this morning. I am heading outside to play in the new snow and sunshine (a very rare thing this time of year in MI) and then will sit down to read more of them.
It's never simple to let go. You are a true find forever to keep.
We're going to have a new generation growing up with "Depression Mentality." It might take slightly different forms this time around. I just hope and pray that, some day, things will be much better and these times will be considered a distant "bad old days."
I know all too well of which you speak.
"Waste not, want not" has been drilled into my head by my Depression Era Mom.
Both my parents were raised during the depression. Yes I certainly know this feeling.
When my mother died my family cleaned out the closets in their bedroom. She still kept old underwear that my dad had worn out many years before he died.
It was a sad find for me.
This post brings back many memories Mamore. I thank you for this post.
my mother was a saver-hoarder, and carried baggies in her purse for filling on her daily errands. my sister inherited it to the point of pathology. when mom needed to move out of her 2 bedroom apartment, I was called in from half the country away, though my sister was a few blocks away, to sort through the years of fossils because my sis was immobilized with the prospect. Many things were tossed, the sister was banned from the proximity, though I saw later her legs protruding from the dumpster collecting a few artifacts.

I love your post Melissa, and you, for all the things said and the love that's implied and still woven and expressed. I know your tears.
Oh, first tears of the day. She sounds like mom. Once-used bags of tea, waiting for another weak cupful, unwrapped cheese... you made me miss her.
Maria - Very true, glad that I usually realize how lucky I am.

Chuck - You think it would be easy to throw away rotten food but not so.

Eva - You are so right. Between caring for the earth and caring for our bank balances, what we save these days will say a lot about us in the future.

Spotted - Another club we could form!

Mission - You can join the club, too. I'm sure there are an army of us who are reflected in that foil!

bbd- Wow, I'm sure that was quite a process. The vision of your sister's legs hanging out of the dumpster is priceless. I'm glad you could read all the words that I didn't write.

Janie - I just got off the phone with my mom and she was laughing at how full her fridge is considering how long she was gone. I am sure there are things living in there that would fit the "reach out and grab you" rule. Maybe we could start an antique spices store on ebay!

C.K.- I know that kind of missing. I feel it for my dad all the time. And the used tea bags, oh yes, and half filled cups of tea all over the house waiting to be heated again!
This is absolutely beautiful. It moved me very deeply. I have often said I would give anything to have my dad back for even one minute so I could enjoy one of the habits I foolishly found annoying while he was with us.

Thank you for a lovely and reflective post.

Rated and appreciated.
What bobbot said. Lovely.
Oh my! This is how I felt about my grandmother's last jar of canned beets .... I watched her canned the beets and she gave me a jar of it the year before she died. Her hands shook like you said and ... the memories are overflowing, even after 15 and half years.

This is absolutely beautiful.
Oh my! This is how I felt about my grandmother's last jar of canned beets .... I watched her canned the beets and she gave me a jar of it the year before she died. Her hands shook like you said and ... the memories are overflowing, even after 15 and half years.

This is absolutely beautiful.
It really is the little things, isn't it? When I wash dishes, I hear the voice of my Mom . . . the proper ways to do dishes. When I do laundry, when I clean bathrooms, the voice of my Mom. You really show it here, so much implied . . . even if I hadn't read other pieces regarding your Mom, so much is said here. You are blessed with a fine heart, a very fine heart.
I loved this too! What a wonderful daughter who knows when to let go. To let mom be mommy one more time.
Dennis - Maybe writing about the crazy-making habits of our families becomes our journey to accepting them and even learning to love them. I don't want to waste a minute more of my time with my husband being pissed about where he hung his towel but it might make an amusing topic for a new post!

Sweetfeet - Thank you. You're still on my list of all time favorite kindergarten teachers!

Rebel - Those beets sound like a true treasure.

Owl - Don't you wonder, when you interact with Giant, what he will flashback to about you 25 years from now?

Walkaway - I don't mean to make you cry, but I did cry while I wrote it so maybe it was contagious. Hopefully, it can be a sweet kind of tear.
So poignant and real. I identify.
This is just so so so nice. So nice.
Emma- Thanks, that means a lot.

Waking- Thanks to you, too. I'm laughing now because the ads on the side are all for trash bags!
a simply moving and beautiful post..

I've experienced too much loss the last few years and this one really hits home. In a good way - realizing it's part of the circle of life.

thank you.
"This year, I learned to laugh at what you couldn’t overcome."

You have reminded me to practice this with my parents now, when they are young enough to change our relationship into something even better.

I didn't know that apples kept well in tin foil? go figure...
Damn. I wish I'd written this. But since I didn't I'm glad it was you.
I LOVE this post. Crying here.
lpsrocks- I'm sorry for the loses in your life and honored that you found something comforting in this post. xo

Heron - I'm doing the same, trying to make it better while I still can.

Roger - Well, thanks!

Hoop - Funny, recycling is very foreign to her but re-using is like second nature.

Unbreakable - Thanks.