Breland: Problems replacing the old with the new

Published 11:09 am Friday, November 12, 2021

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The old microwave was completely worn out. It was still working, but very slowly. I hated to replace it, but it had to be tossed. I depend on a microwave a good bit, so I went shopping.

The old microwave was white and easy to use. The new one is black and I have to keep referring to the manual to get it to work.

Nobody told me as we age it can be very hard to see and use small black appliances. Even with all the brightness in the kitchen, I almost have to use a flashlight to see how to set and turn on the new one. I should have thought about it twice and maybe bought a white one.

I have this thing about old appliances. At my house, they don’t get replaced until they are completely worn out. I had a washing machine I used so long I almost mourned when I had to get a new one — which I have now used for countless years. Maybe I do get a little attached to them.

My mother was a big fan of General Electric appliances. She had a refrigerator that lasted forever. As long as it worked, they didn’t replace it. Finally, she demanded a new one. The old one was taken to a camp. It may be still running someplace!

When we built our new house nearly 50 years ago, mother was appalled that I chose a Hotpoint wall oven. She called it a cheap GE. Maybe it was, but it has been a great oven. I just baked a cake in it … it is still working!

It has been used an awful lot while cooking for a family of six over the years. I have a fairly new regular stove. It is a stainless steel appliance with a much newer oven. It does not bake like my old copper tone oven, which is still in my kitchen and will be used until it — or I — stops working.

I have to admit I don’t use the stove as much as in the past. With several countertop appliances in the kitchen, one can almost live without a stove at all.

About 16 years ago, my Frigidaire refrigerator stopped. It was the weekend of our son’s wedding and we had visitors coming. We quickly bought a new stainless steel fridge and placed in in the kitchen. Temporarily, we put the old one on the covered patio, planning to throw it away.

We had used it for a long time. It was the second of our refrigerators in this house. The first copper tone one had passed away many years ago.

After a few weeks, we plugged it in and it ran like a new one. We pushed it against the wall in a safe place and it became my second refrigerator. It has been handy all these years for holding extra food.

It finally stopped this week. I cleaned it out and it is waiting to be hauled away. I really don’t need a second refrigerator anymore and it has certainly served its time in this house.

I will never forget the big console television set we once had in our den. We watched it a long time and one day, it just stopped. Since it was pretty old, we decided to buy a new one.

One of our friends came by and asked what we were going to do with the old set. He said he would love to have the wood from the cabinet, so we gave it to him.

When we saw him and asked what he had made with the wood, he laughed and said, “I took that TV set home with me, plugged it in and it is still working!”

Appliances can be like people. Some vanish quickly, while others stick around for ages. We can learn from both.

Bob Ann Breland can be reached by email at