I wrote this post about 6 weeks ago and then sort of forgot about it. Or maybe I was too superstitious to post this until my brother got a good rain at his house. Either way, the rain came and I decided today was the day, so although it may not be as timely as it once was, the topic is still relevant to me, so here goes...
Hello friends. Most of you probably know that I live in Colorado, but unless you've been a reader for a while, you may not know that I am originally from the state of Texas. Yep, that's me, born and bred, educated and wed -the first time anyway :-) So, most of my family is still there and I've got to tell you, this crazy drought, severe heat, and now the wildfires are really disturbing. Last week, my home county was being ravaged by wildfires and then I got an email from one of my brothers on Monday night that his subdivision in Bastrop Country was being evacuated. His practically new retirement/dream home one shift of the wind away from ashes! He and my SIL got both cars packed up with their irreplaceables and headed back to their old house in Houston (luckily, they were still working on getting it ready to sell, so could land there). The latest update this evening was that they are pretty sure the danger has passed, at least for now, so I am ever so thankful. BUT this got me thinking (you might want to go to the kitchen and get something to drink now or perhaps just close this window because when I get to thinking, I tend to go for a while)...WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE?
If you have been around this blog a while, you know that I am a collector. I love antiques and I have MANY collections. I have to periodically purge my own treasures for fear of the show "Hoarders" coming knocking at my door. It's a bit of a problem, I admit. I am emotionally connected to my STUFF. That being said however, it was an interesting exercise for me to engage in thinking that if I had a few hours or even a couple of days to grab all that was dear to me...anything that I just couldn't bear to be without...and put it in our cars and drive to a safer place, what would I take?
Hmmmmm, says I. Can I rent a semi? Can friends help with their vehicles or is it just us? Can I make two trips? Then it came to me with exquisite clarity: once I had established the safety of my husband, my kids, and our silly little pets, anything else we had the luxury of taking with us would be gravy. Obviously, the important papers would get tossed in the car, the family photos, and the computers and CD backups. Can't replace my photographic evidence of my children in all their diaper butted glory, my parents in their 20's, or my 2007 tax return (with accompanying documentation).
Clothing seems fairly obvious. Favorite jeans, a flattering dress, THE shoes, and, yes, my Magnolia Pearl pieces would have to find their place, but most everything else could be replaced. I'm a thrift store shopper (yes, I have Magnolia Pearl in my closet, but the rest of it is thrifty and nifty) and clothes are necessary, but obviously are replaceable. Clothes for the wee ones would be thrown in along with their favorite toys.
Then I started thinking about "THE STUFF". All of these antiques and wonderful items collected over 25 years. Where to start? Oddly, I look around and although I really LIKE my stuff (good thing I guess), I realize that most of it could be left to chance. It is other people's dead relatives' belongings and there's always more out there. If I had the luxury of picking what I wouldn't want to be without, it would be things like the dresser set my husband bought me for our first anniversary. It was the best surprise anyone ever gave me. I cried at the time and always say that if the house is burning, that would be the one thing I would grab if I could.
My parent's sterling. It isn't used much I know, but it is one of those tangible things that was passed down to me that I hope to pass down to my children someday.
My mother's paintings. Mom learned to paint while my dad was overseas in WWII. She wasn't terribly prolific, but she did a few and I am lucky enough to have 2 small florals plus one that she did of my dad, I think from a picture. She never in a million years considered herself an artist, but she was in so many ways. Painting was one of the first demonstrations of that. Those small paintings I possess are precious to me and I would protect them if I could.
I have 2 of my great aunt's paintings and a few of her china painting pieces. Aunt Da was a very independent little sprite of a thing and when her husband died at an early age, she made her living doing a variety of things, one of them china painting. She had her kilns in her home and her studio always had that faint smell of turpentine. I love that smell to this day. I'd definitely make room for her artwork. Luckily, the pieces are small.
My collection of 1920's ribbonwork....that is my favorite collection. I am completely drawn to it and have spent more than any sane person would on examples of it. One book box would house every piece I own though. SO, I'd probably just toss it all in and call it good.
Strange thing is, that's where my mental list stopped. I'm sure if I were positive the whole place was going to burn to the ground, I'd find a few more things to toss in the vehicles, but for the most part, I'd be willing to chance it. I wasn't expecting that. I guess it all boils down to the fact that if you have your family intact, you really do have everything. Nothing is more precious than that and nothing other than them and perhaps your memorabilia of them (pictures) cannot be replaced. Of course, we all hope that we are never faced with the tragedy of losing everything, but it is an interesting thing to ponder or at least, I think so. I hope this newly discovered introspection will make it easier for me to part with some of my toppling tower of too much that I am faced with (Thanks Lana for that visual).
So, blogging friends of mine, I ask you: what would you take? Talk to me. I'm listening.
Until next time,