Carol Grajzar can remember an old Westinghouse refrigerator being in her home in Ohio when she was very little. This was back in the 1940s.
At that age, she could not have imagined that decades later and hundreds of miles away, her parents old refrigerator would still be keeping drinks cold in her own home in Silver Creek.
Carol’s parents met in the military in 1943. Her dad was in the Air Force, navigating B-29 and XB-19 Bombers. Her mother was in the Woman’s Army Corps — at the time the women’s branch of the Army.
The couple got married a month after they first met, Carol said, and began building a life in Cleveland, Ohio, moving into a little duplex.
It was while living here that the couple bought a brand new refrigerator in 1946, a Westinghouse. It was white and had a large cold storage space and a built-in frozen storage compartment.
It kept the family’s food and drinks cold until 1956 when they moved and got all new appliances. But for some reason Carol’s dad didn’t want to get rid of the old fridge.
“So he kept it downstairs,” Carol said. “At this time he was in insurance and he had the old refrigerator down there with him. He kept his Pepsi Colas in it. He loved Pepsi.”
Carol moved away to college, then moved back, but the fridge was always there. If there was overflow from the newer fridge, her mom would use the old one, but they always made room for her dad’s Pepsi Colas.
In 1968, Carol married Leo Grajzar who was a captain in the Air Force at the time and they moved to Washington State. She and her now growing family would move to other parts of the country but her parents stayed in Ohio... and so did the little Westinghouse refrigerator.
“When we would go visit my parents in Ohio my two boys would run to see who could get to that old refrigerator and get a Pepsi first,” Carol remembered with a smile. “My dad would joke around with them and they’d all drink Pepsi Colas together.”
Carol’s mother passed away and in 1991 her father moved from Ohio to Rome. He brought the old Westinghouse with him.
“At that point it was just a part of him so there was no question that he’d bring it with him,” Carol said. “He moved in with us and had his own part of the house. The refrigerator stayed with him in his part of the house.”
After her father died, Carol and Leo moved to a house on Brice Station Road in Silver Creek — the house they live in today.
There was no question now as to whether or not the old Westinghouse would be moving with them. Of course it would. It was as much a part of the family as any of them were.
So the refrigerator has taken its place on Carol and Leo’s back porch. Fear not, the porch is a nice one. It’s covered and screened in. And the refrigerator still works. In fact, Carol has never had to have it repaired. She has inquired about having it restored since it has been a bit worn down by years of constant use. But it would just be too expensive and in any case she likes it just the way it is. It looks just as it did when her father opened it to get out his Pepsi Colas.
“And I’m afraid to even move it or unplug it” Carol said. “I don’t want anything to happen to it. It might all of a sudden stop working if I do anything differently.”
So the little Westinghouse refrigerator that a young couple in Ohio bought in 1946 is still up and running in 2018 on a back porch in Silver Creek. And that’s just where it’s going to stay.
“I’m not getting rid of it for anything,” Carol said. “In time, one of my sons may want it and if so then I’ll pass it on to them but I’m not getting rid of it. It’s a part of the family.”