Friday, October 26, 2007

Prized Possessions

For the past few nights now I have dreamt that I witness the formation of a huge tornado and have only seconds to find the kids and alert the people around me. I'm suddenly crawling down into a septic-system-esque tunnel, white subway tile walls and floors, waiting for my husband to pass me the baby, only to get to the bottom and realize there is nowhere to go and it is filling up with water. Not a surprising dream given the devastation happening in California and the 24-hour coverage on the news. As a general rule I try to avoid the news as much as possible because detailed information about the latest murders, rapings, school shootings, embezzlement's and wars does not lend itself to making me feel good about my world. However, having been to San Diego a fair bit and living in Arizona during similar circumstances, I have been watching the news stories about the California wildfires with much interest. And of course, cameras rolling, the whole world can watch a family return to the previous site of their old home, watch them break down as the parents and children sift through the holocaust of their former life.

I'm not one of those who has had long term memories of living in a house; bringing home all the children fresh from the hospital, the place where we got our first pet, or the memories of a multitude of anniversaries spent with my husband. We've lived in four houses in 9 years of marriage and each of my children has spent their first year and a half crawling and drooling on a different living room floor. Each house has held different types of memories, but certainly not all of them. That said, losing the place we live would still be devastating nonetheless. For me it would be more about losing the small corner of the world where I go; (the noun, not the verb)my place on the library shelf. The place my van heads after a shopping trip or dropping the kids off at school. The place where I return after visiting family where I can exhale, throw my clothes on the floor and not make the bed. The only place (really) where I make the rules outside the conventions of life.

Watching the news last night, people who were being evacuated from the area were being interviewed. They were given 10 minutes to take whatever was important to them and be ready to leave the house. Most people were done in less than five minutes. So I wondered, What would I take if in the same situation? What would you take? Lets assume for the sake of argument that your spouse, children, and the family pet(s) were already safe in the car with the engine running. Yes, we all know that those are the most important things in life and everything else is purely material. But if you could choose five things to save from destruction, what would they be and why? For myself:
1) My children's photo albums. For posterity if nothing else, and many memories are wrapped up in those anyway.
2) My Bible and My Book House books collection-because as far as I'm concerned you always need to have some spiritual direction in times like these, and the Book House Books have deep personal sentiment for me.
3) The engraved pocket watch I gave my husband for our wedding, and the opal ring he gave me after a particularly difficult patch-to give the children when they get older.
) My lap top, not because I'm attached to the technology or playing solitaire, but because it has photos and my writings on it, both of which are precious to me.
5) The framed collage of photos of my husband and me, as well as the journals we kept for each other when he lived in Russia. Again, these are for the kids later in life.

Could live without these? Certainly. Could they be replaced? Most of them, yes. But if I had 10 minutes these are the items I'd grab. With the spouse, the kids and our cat waiting in the car for me of course.

What would you take?


Dianne said...

Ok, I think I need to stop reading your blogs because they are making me feel completely inferior. That poem is brilliant, Rachel. Like, prize-winning, even. I am not worthy!!!

Fred A. said...

Obviously you get your talent from your mother.