Fifty years of wizard magic goes out door

Published 11:13 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letting go of something old for something new is usually an easy thing to do.

A new refrigerator’s not a big deal these days. At least, not for most people.

But for Mattie Allen, it was a big deal.

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In just a couple of days, a truck was scheduled to pull up to her house and deliver a brand new, frost-free refrigerator with a freezer large enough to store enough food to feed an army.

Allen’s excitement was tempered with apprehension.

“I’m glad I’m going to get a new refrigerator,” she said. “It will be nice to have one that you don’t have to defrost but there’s nothing wrong with this one and I kind of hate to get rid of it. It’s been with me a long time.”

Fifty years is a long time and then, too, it’s a Wizard and it’s the only one that Allen has ever had. Sentiment counts for something.

Allen looked fondly at the bulbous, yellow Wizard and signed a heavy sigh.

“I remember the day I got it,” she said. “It was the first big appliance I ever had. I already had an electric iron but that was nothing like a refrigerator.”

Up until that time, Allen kept her food cool in a metal icebox.

“Back then, we didn’t have electricity,” she said. “We kept things cool in the icebox with a 50-cent block of ice that we got from Saul Cephus, the iceman. That one block of ice would keep food cool for near about a week.”

But, when the “electric lines” were run Allen’s way, she was “all hook up” for modern conveniences.

“I found this refrigerator at the Western Auto Store,” she said. “It had a big price on it. One hundred dollars. That was a heap of money but I paid it off on time. By the month.”

The Wizard was a “honey” of a refrigerator. It even had a place up top for ice trays.

“The ice trays were metal and had a little lever on one end that would pop the ice out when you pulled on it,” Allen said. “If your fingers were a little wet, they would stick to the ice trays and you couldn’t hardly get them aloose. It was a real nice refrigerator and I was real proud of it.”

The Wizard had a V8 motor and weighed 195 pounds and it was “made it the USA.”

“I never thought about needing another refrigerator and, after 50 years, this one is still going strong,” Allen said and added thoughtfully, “I don’t guess I need a new one now.”

But a government program made it possible for Allen to get a major appliance that would make life easier and better for her. And, she appreciated the good fortune. But letting go of the Wizard that came into her home and into her life 50 years ago was hard to do.

That electric refrigerator brought about change and convenience that she never imagined.

That Wizard changed her world.

And, as welcomed as the new frost-free will be, it won’t bring about the change that was trucked into Allen’s kitchen 50 years ago.