Tag Archives: IKEA

My Refrigerator Holds Memories in its Magnets

12 Mar

My refrigerator drives my husband crazy. Not the appliance itself, but rather the hundreds of magnets that have been placed on it over the years. Many of my friends have switched to stainless steel refrigerators, but I cannot do that . What would I do with my magnets?

When I see my magnets, I have memories. Many of these magnets I purchased on trips or at events. Some were gifts from a friend. But most hold special memories for me.

Thanks to a chance trip to an IKEA store and a wonderful magnetic board on which I moved many of my magnets, my magnet collection has areas of themes. Instead of a mishmash of magnets all over, I was able to make montages and delineate sections.   Well I think I have.


There are the three magnets from Kauneonga Lake, NY, that highlight the Woodstock concerts. The oldest I bought at Vassmer’s when they had a little Woodstock museum set up in one of the storefronts.   One is from 1994 and the 25th anniversary of Woodstock. And the final one came from the BethEl Woods Museum, which celebrated the 40th anniversary in 2009.

I close my eyes and I am in Kauneonga Lake reliving that summer. Close to these magnets I keep a photo from the Catskills that includes my grandmothers and great aunt. There are other magnets near by, but it is the Catskills memory that stands out in this montage.

On the front of my refrigerator are all sorts of magnets.   Some from musicals I attended, others from places I visited. Some show sayings that I think are important.   My magnet collection seems very organized now. And it is.   Most of the magnets you see there are square or rectangle in shape creating organized lines upon lines of magnets.


When I see a magnet from a favorite show, the music runs through my mind. I see the action and dance and the people who attended the show with me. Great memories.  My magnets hold up important notes and pictures written or drawn by my children or a special child friend.  These need a place to stay, and the refrigerator is that place.

In another corner of the freezer door, I keep my lucky magnets. Hamsas of different shapes and other magnets that I found on trips to Israel and Greece adorn this space.


Interspersed throughout the magnets and all over the refrigerator are the photos of important people and children: my children, my nieces and nephews, my grandparents, cousins. The magnets hold up the photos, and in some cases the pictures are within magnet frames. All of these pictures hold a special place in my heart.


The magnetic board I purchased at IKEA contains over 100 magnets from some of my favorite places: Disneyworld, Prince Edward Island and the Anne of Green Gables home, Bahamas, New York City, Aspen, Lego Land, New Orleans, Seattle. Looking at this board gives me joy because I remember so many wonderful places I traveled to with my husband and my family! I can remember the excitement in visiting each new place.

My husband did not appreciate my efforts of magnet organization. He thinks the refrigerator is still overwhelmed by magnets. Perhaps he is right. Perhaps I need to go back to IKEA and buy another magnetic board. The magnets will not disappear. The memories stored in my magnets are too important to me.

Aging, Wisely and Joyfully

21 Feb

I spoke to my daughter a few days before her 29th birthday (yesterday). She lives in Israel and I live in the Kansas, so we spoke through a video chat. (Always makes me think of 2001: A Space Odyssey, when the astronaut calls his family from space.) My daughter was bemoaning her advancing age.

“I am going to be old!” She cried. “I am almost 30!”

“That is not old!” I insisted. “Look at me, I am 60. I am not complaining about being old.”

“Well once you are old, you are old!” She said. “I am not old yet, just getting there.”

We both laughed. But the truth is, I do not feel old. I feel pretty wonderful.

I recently participated in a two-day workshop on “Wise Aging” presented by instructors from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Although it was presented in Kansas City, there were participants from through the Midwest. We all learned how to be facilitators in this new program to help people transition in to the next stage of life.

I was surprised when I was called by our rabbi’s wife and asked to participate on behalf of our congregation. But she told me that she thought of me immediately when she realized she could not attend, as I was aging so wonderfully. That was two weeks before my 60th birthday, and I will admit to a bit of concern. But okay, I would do it.

The two-day workshop was intense and exhausting. Fourteen hours of learning and interacting with the other trainees as we attempted to learn about the Wise Aging program, bring this program to life and learn to teach it to others.

I loved the idea of helping people see themselves as elders as opposed to elderly. As we age, we have so much to give to others. We can mentor and teach from our experiences.

There was one part of the program I found distressing. There was much discussion about teaching people how to let go of bitterness and learn to forgive those in their past who might have hurt them. It seems many people, as they age, hold on to old hurts and real or imagined insults.

I say, “let it go.” As does this program. Let go of these feelings because bitterness only makes you feel worse. I am a firm believer of the rule of Rosh HaShannah and Yom Kippur to say I am sorry to any one I might have hurt and to forgive anyone who has hurt me. It is so much easier than carrying all that baggage around. And it makes life so much more joyful.

This workshop opened my eyes to how others see themselves as they age.   Whereas my husband and I are really enjoying our lives as empty nesters, others seem to have a difficult time.

So I say. Go to a lecture. We try to go to a program at least once a week.   There are many free lectures and programs available. Go to a concert. Take a weekend trip if you can. Get a kitten. Having a pet does wonders for people as they age. Travel with friends.

Yes the body starts to give out a little. But exercise is wonderful for keeping your body healthy. You do not have to run marathons like my meshugganah husband. But you can walk. I walk two to three miles almost every day.


Do something different. Yesterday, in honor of my daughter’s birthday, a friend of mine and I went to the new IKEA store in Kansas. I had not been there yet. We walked all around the showroom and the marketplace and the warehouse. I got lots of walking in and bought a few accessories. Then we went out for a bowl of chicken noodle soup and shared a black and white cookie at a deli. Happiness can be a bowl of soup and a cookie!

Find things that make you happy. And be happy. You have so many experiences to share and so much good to do. Volunteer for an organization you love. Meet new people. Keep being curious. My curiosity has led me to investigate further into my family history and I have found cousins I did not know I had. I love a mystery and solving it. Now I am focus on the mysteries of my family.

There is so much to do and so much more time to do it, now that I no longer have children at home.

So I plan to continue to age wisely and joyfully. I hope my example will help my daughter accept her almost 30 years and age joyfully as well.