I 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?