The Toaster

Image of Short Story
I make toast - beautiful, browned bread, evenly crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside.

I made my first toast for you after you returned from your honeymoon in Detroit in 1947. I have warm, cozy memories of your first years together. Every morning I gave you delightful aromas of toasted bread which mixed with percolated coffee and, on Sundays, eggs and bacon sputtering on the skillet.

I worked hard for you after the little ones came along – buttered toast in the morning, sandwiches for lunch and the occasional bedtime snack. I recall their little faces peering over me, watching my coils heat up and glow, marveling at how I miraculously transformed a hum-drum piece of white bread into delicious toast, ready for butter and jam.

Then you moved into a new house. Things changed.

The little ones grew up and moved away. You remodeled your kitchen. Copper countertops, cork floor and new appliances. The percolator made way for Mr. Coffee. There was a new-fangled oven called a microwave. All in the name of progress. Maybe you can guess what happened to me. I was put into a deep, dark cupboard next to the sink where I could hear the comings and goings in the kitchen but would never be a part of your lives again.

I was forgotten while my replacement, an ugly thing called a toaster oven, took my place. It was neither a toaster nor an oven but it was given my old position between the microwave and Mr. Coffee. No more would my heating coils kindle your toast.

I went into a kind of coma and don’t remember how much time passed while life went on without me.

Then another move. After downsizing and giving away many of your possessions to your grown children, you managed to hang on to me. Why I wasn’t thrown into the trash heap of antiquity I don’t know, but you did manage to find a place for me in the back of another dark cupboard. Soon I heard the sweet voices and scampering feet of grandchildren. They probably never knew of my existence. But I was there, next to the refrigerator.

The grandchildren grew up and didn’t come for visits anymore.

Time passed . . . . Silence.

You don’t live here anymore.

One day I was roused out of my coma when one of the daughters opened the cupboard door and took everything out. She expressed surprise to find me there. She set me on the counter next to the stained and battered toaster oven. I still looked almost new in my shiny chrome case. Did she remember me?

I was put in a box with other items from the kitchen and we jostled about for a short ride in a car.

Before I realized what was happening, I was taken out of the box, put on a nice granite countertop in a pretty kitchen, and plugged in to a wall socket. Was I going to be put into service again? Perhaps I wasn’t abandoned after all. After a test run I was cleaned out, crumbs removed, and chrome polished. The next morning my coils were rekindled and I made my first piece of toast in many years. Now I make gluten-free English muffins every morning for the son-in-law.

Ahh, it’s good to be alive!