When I was little, I used think how amazing it was that my great grandmother was alive before there were cars and planes, before running water and electricity was common in every home, before grocery stores were filled with convenience foods like sliced bread. My mom used to talk about how amazing it was to get a television set and how there were still horse drawn trolleys in her hometown when she was little. Nowadays, I talk to my kids about the days before video games, before VCRs, before cellphones, before home computers. The most memorable of all new appliances, however, was the microwave.
It was either 1979 or 1980. My mom had started talking about getting a microwave. She investigated which brand was good, where to get one, what price was considered good. One Saturday morning, on a weekend that my father was terribly ill with the flu, she made the purchase. That is about the only thing about the story that my parents agree upon.
There I was, sick in bed. I was too weak to get up and I intended to sleep until I was well. Soon your mother came in to the bedroom and shook me awake saying, “Hon, there is a really good sale on an Amana microwave.” I may have moaned a reply, but then she was gone. The next thing I remember, she was shaking me awake again, saying, “Get up. You have to help me unload the car.” When I asked why, she said she had just gone and bought the microwave, like I’d said to. What?! I didn’t say to go buy a microwave. She couldn’t have interpreted my moan as an ascent to such a purchase. I had definitely been taken advantage of!
My good friend Mary called me early one Saturday morning and asked me if I’d seen the microwave sale in the paper. I told her I’d been looking at it just before she called. She wanted one just as badly as I did. I went back to the bedroom and told your dad about the sale. He said, “Well, there probably won’t be a better deal, you might just as well go ahead and buy it.” I called Mary back and said, “Let’s go!” This was a great deal. Not only was I getting a microwave, but it came with cooking classes, dishes and a huge thick cookbook. The store people had loaded up the station wagon with the enormous microwave box for me. When I got home I just had to get dad to help me unload it. When I woke him up, he acted like he didn’t remember any of our morning’s conversation, but it was too late. I had my microwave and I was not giving it up!
For years, we heard about that fateful day. Mom had so much fun with the new”toy.” For a while, almost all of our meals were cooked in the microwave. She even made bread in it! (Did you know that if you cook bread in a microwave, it comes out without a crust? It’s a kid’s dream come true!)