The Suitcase Lady


October 7, 2008, 10:02 pm

I am a failure as a consumer of durable goods. I have only bought one stove in my entire life.

For over thirty years I cooked and baked with the Rock of Gibraltar. That was the name we lovingly gave to our free stove. The rock was 30 years old when we inherited it. The woman who sold us her house was moving to Seattle and had no desire to move her ancient behemoth of a range.

In the 30 years I used it, I never figured out all its remarkable features… a deep well burner complete with kettle for soups, a cracker crisper drawer, a warming oven, dish towel drying racks, various timers and automatic starters. The stellar feature was its solidity. If anything rolled under the stove, it was gone. The Rock of Gibraltar did not move.

The Rock was easy to repair. My handy husband would occasionally replace a burner or broken element and the stove would keep on cooking year after year.

When we finally moved to our present home, we couldn’t conceive of moving a 10 ton, 60 year old stove. We reluctantly left it behind and bought a shiny new Maytag range.

I knew I was in trouble when the Maytag arrived with these instructions… “do not use burners at high heat for prolonged periods of time.” I did. The supports that held up the burner coils immediately melted causing the pans and teakettles to slide off. In retrospect, we should have moved the Rock.

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