It’s hard to believe it’s been over 30 years since the 1985 Chicago Bears’ championship season. As a kid, I was drawn to the team’s many larger-than-life personalities. In particular, I was a huge fan of William “The Refrigerator” Perry.
I still remember the day he came to sign autographs at a still-under-construction mall in Orland Park, IL. The only open store was a Kohl’s – the rest of the mall was dark and cold (heat wasn’t on yet), full of shuttered stores. The autograph line stretched further than I could see. And we must have waited four hours or more to finally make it up to the Fridge.
Once we got close, I could see why it was taking so long. The Fridge was taking time to chat and pose for photos with each group of fans. He signed several photos for me, and jokingly took offense that my mom didn’t bring anything for him to sign. So she handed him the only thing she had – a hat box from Marshall Fields.
It seems like William had his ups and downs after his football career ended, but his enthusiasm and dedication to his fans made a big impression on me.
He must have made an impression on a local electrician, as well, who puts “#72 The Fridge” on the electric panel to designate the breaker for the refrigerator in the house.
If you haven’t seen “The Super Bowl Shuffle” in a while (or ever?) I encourage you to take a few minutes to enjoy some cheesy 80s music and terrible rapping: