I’m not sure how most people store their warranty information for household items. I keep ours in a box on a closet shelf, just like my mother does. Her plastic container is nicer than mine made of cardboard, but I’m sort of attached to the Reebok carton which once held a pair of men’s size eight athletic shoes.
My feet were size 13 when I was born, so the Reeboks must have been for our son, Seth, in kindergarten. Big feet run in our family, which is great in windstorms as we don’t tilt over easily. According to a scribbled notation the box once contained our 1990 tax records, which dates it around 30 years old. There’s probably an antique shoebox collector somewhere that will be thrilled to learn of this rare jewel, but it’s not for sale. I’m not even telling which closet it’s in.
Handwritten numbers indicate the shoes were priced at $74.99. Buying pricey footwear doesn’t sound like something I would have willingly done. I’m guessing Jane found them at a 40 percent discount. It will help me feel better to embrace that line of thinking.
One reason I like the shoebox is its patriotic colors. A blue base is decorated with red and white stripes which look like ribbons wrapped around a gift package. I don’t know how the shoes fared, but the box has been amazingly durable after its long journey here from Taiwan.
A Saturday in January is when I decided to review the contents. I had tried to add a warranty book to the top of the stack, but it made the box too full for the lid to properly fit. The shortage of sufficient document storage motivated me to check for papers that could be discarded.
I found warranties for appliances of long ago. Harvest Gold was our laundry room theme color in the seventies. Harvest Gold and English Pea Green were once heartedly embraced by a nation anxious for color choices. Now everything we own is white like the machines of my childhood.
There was a warranty for a light-duty vacuum cleaner enticingly named Dirt Devil. Its red color seemed appropriate, probably since I grew up near the Red Devils of Hawkinsville, a mascot which has endured for decades. We were the Blue Devils in Unadilla, a mascot whose origin is unknown to me. Maybe it’s because blue flames are hotter than red, but I’m just guessing.
I don’t know how well the Dirt Devil performed, but it’s an awesome name for marketing purposes. Although I much prefer angels to devils, I’ll admit that Dirt Angel doesn’t excite me. It connotes a gentle approach toward dirt which is not what America’s housewives are looking for.
Instructions for a metal detector reminded me of a disheartening quest for buried treasure. The detector was a gift from our daughter, Carrie, who learned that searching for silver appealed to me as a potential hobby. I scattered ten dimes in the yard yet only found 30 cents. That cured my itch.
The warranty book for our Char-Broil gas grill is a definite keeper. Our daughter, Erin, assembled it when she was 14. She’s good with that kind of thing and I was delighted when she put it together. It’s under our carport and still works fine except for the ignitor. I tried to repair it years ago and learned it’s best not to hold the sparkplug while pushing the button. It’s like using a defibrillator on yourself and apparently leads to memory loss. The shock was severe all three times.
The glass window on the grill allows me to see if what I’m cooking is on fire. It is with sadness I report the folks at Char-Broil recently told me they don’t offer viewing windows anymore. I didn’t ask why because I don’t want to learn something that might force me to retire my old friend.
I kept the assembly instructions for three Jenny Lind baby beds we began using 41 years ago. One day our children may wonder why I held on to such unnecessary items, or maybe they’ll understand. It’s nice to have things that unexpectedly revive fond moments almost forgotten.
I’m not going to quiz Jane about the cost of those Reeboks. The statute of limitations has expired and the exceptional box they came in is still quite useful. With four inches of prime storage now available at the top, there’s room to collect a few more memories.
Four inches should be enough space for a couple of decades or more. And if by then my cardboard box has fallen apart, I’ll probably buy one made of plastic.
Reading your blog posts every week feels just like having a conversation with you upstairs in the youth department at VFB.
Speaking of holding on papers that bring good memories, I have a very special note written by one very beloved Sunday School teacher on the occasion of my high school graduation. For 30 years it has been safely tucked away in a memory book and securely stored in a cedar chest that has held treasures since my teen years. When a wave of nostalgia hits or my heart fills the pull to be nearer to home, I pull out that book, read through the letters, notes, cards and enjoy the excursion down memory lane and that always incudes the reading of that treasured note from that beloved Sunday School teacher.
Hugs to you and Mrs. Jane!
Great read! Kudos! You do have a way with words. Got a chuckle out of me! Gramilynn Bryant
Enjoyed this article very much! Can always count on you for a good laugh and some sentiment.
I enjoyed, as usual. You are a talented writer with a God-given gift.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY. I read your article every week and they usually remind me of something that happened in Vienna during my growing up years.
Neal you should write a book of all your funny and hilarious stories. You remind me somewhat of Lewis Gizzard. My favorite of his was Shoot Low Boys They’re Riding Shetland Ponies. Best Regards.
Boy! Can I relate! My choice container is an old lard can from 50 years ago. Works for me.