The fridge door has become a time capsule, a souvenir of Bonne Bay summers. It makes me think of what we did with an upstairs space at the back of the house in midtown Toronto where I was small. The hallway became The Collage: a collection of family ephemera covering gloomy wallpaper (white roses, grey trellises on a grey ground, and likely decades old already.)
There were not many of us in my family but there was a lot of paper. We seemed to attract the stuff; we trailed it. My paper family, sending me clues to long-ago lives: I keep finding more of it in boxes and old desks.
In The Collage there were posters for art exhibits and and political campaigns and doodles by a cartoonist friend. At my kid's-eye level on one wall a ticket for Clay-Chuvalo at Maple Leaf Gardens, on another an invitation to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. A huge photo of a fashion model my parents knew ran across the ceiling. I can't quite recover her name, only that she was clad (perplexingly, I thought) in clinging silvery chainmail.
Most of it was wordy, though: black print on white paper (including the Victorian sign that read WC, with a hand pointing the way, which for some reason I found mortifying.)
Newspaper colours. My father was one of the men who ran a daily that was locked in doomed competition with a rival and on the October evening that its owner shut it down he wrote, up in a high corner of The Collage, the date, and above it the date he had started work there. And he rarely spoke of that night's events again.
Our own tiny fridge-door version of The Collage doesn't require much explanation. I do love it. Bernard MacLaverty! The people you call should you need a bear trap (again.) A left-behind chart for Hey Rosetta!'s shimmeringly beautiful Kintsukuroi. A family snap from a Saskatchewan camping trip in 1919. My grandmother's recipe for a fragrant casserole bread, which I remember spooning out of a basin warm from the oven and crowning with butter at other, childhood summer houses. One of these days I will make it myself.