What would you take?

evacuate.jpgI was doing something very odd this afternoon.  Sitting still and reading – a magazine, I think it was Newsweek – scanning through whatever caught my attention.  This issue featured news and associated stories from the horrible wildfires that ravaged southern California last month.

On the pages following the news of the sheer logistical madness of fighting and/or getting out of the way fire, there was a brief piece (3 short columns) with a few pictures about the material items that people take with them in the course of leaving their homes.  It was fascinating.

The photos showed items like an heirloom jewelry chest, a diploma, folders of legal papers, a child’s gameboy, a blanket, a bible, a favorite pillow.  The article told of less obvious items like an antique butter dish passed down for several generations, and other unlikely treasures.  But they are someone’s treasures, in some sad cases, all the worldly treasure left to some.  One man was quoted as responding to the ‘how do you decide what to bring’ query by saying “You can’t pull a U-haul behind your hearse.”  True enough.

It really is great to say “it’s my family that’s important” and even to really mean it – I know that would be my very first concern.  I imagine though that at some point there are things remembered that were left behind that become focal points for some of the emotional loss that goes with disaster.  I also imagine that these items could very well be things entirely impractical for the evacuation bag – wedding gowns, a collection of favorite children’s books, the baby’s coming home outfit.

All this to say, the article got me wondering what I might take should the sheriff knock on our door with word that we had 10 minutes to leave.   Needless to say, it’s taken me more than 10 minutes to think of far too few important items, and the sentimental ones are yet unconsidered.  While I’m thinking (and realizing how much actual house re-organizing would be helpful to the process), I thought I’d invite you into this exercise.  I hope none of us ever has to actually evacuate, but that’s not up to us to predict.

So, what would you bring?

4 Responses to “What would you take?”

  1. Mel
    November 9, 2007 at 12:08 am #

    With as much as the fire alarm goes off in my building at work (no real fires) I just invested in a big fire safe. So far it has my photo negatives, journals, and childhood teddy bear. When it’s done it will also have backup computer files and other files on cd plus address books. My other safe has important documents like the passport, copies of bills, etc…

    As children we got to have one box for keepsakes and that helped cut down how much we saved. I’m sure mom & dad would have had us take that incase of evacuation.

    Otherwise I’d have to think!

  2. Todd Porter
    November 10, 2007 at 3:24 pm #

    I don’t know. Probably my computers and important family stuff. But that was all after I knew everyone was able to get out safely.

  3. chris wilson
    November 13, 2007 at 5:37 pm #

    After Angie, Gracie and Bo, I have 3 boxes in the basement labeled “Gracies Stuff”, “Angie’s Stuff” and “Documents”

    Gracies stuff is her gotcha day clothes, first toy, etc.

    Angie’s stuff is her old pictures, yearbooks, etc,

    Documents are passports, deads, bank info etc.

    That would be a restart point.

  4. Stacy
    November 13, 2007 at 7:33 pm #

    As long as I knew everyone in the house was out safely I would grab my grandfather’s flag, picture, and my scrap book of Josiah. Everything else can be replaced.

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