Thursday, July 5, 2012

What would you save?

This week we are talking about evacuating.  The question is:

In light of all the fires and other natural disasters, if you had to evacuate you home, what would you take with you and why? If your home was destroyed what would you miss most?

I grew up in fire country.  We had a grab and go bag in our closet for most of my childhood.  The grab and go bad contained current copies of important documents.  Because you never knew when you were going to have to leave immediately.

About 10 or 15 years ago a fire ripped through Oakland.  People were not evacuated in a timely manner and there was a fairly significant loss of life.  This changed the way fires that were located near populated areas were fought.  In the past evacuations were done in a much more immediate way.  Now, people are often given a warning and some time to get out.  More people are evacuated than are probably in harms way.  This creates easy access for the firefighters, but it also prevents what happened Oakland, where folks were caught by surprise.

You might have as much as 10 hours to get ready, you might have 45 minutes.  What would you take?  I like to think I am not attached to stuff, but I would take my yarn.  Well, the good stuff anyway.  Other than the pictures of my wedding and some of the kids baby pictures, I like to think I wouldn't miss anything else.  I'm sure my kids would really want me to grab their blankets and special stuffed toys.  Of course we would grab our grab and go bag.

But, when you start to think about what it would be like to pick up the pieces of your life after your house is cinders.  Replacing all the detritus that makes our lives comfortable and functional, it is over-whelming.  Yet, my family lived through a massive fire shortly after I graduated from college.  I remember being at a party some years later and one of the families that didn't loose their house had an interesting perspective.  My friend's Dad said that in the beginning they were so happy that their house was safe.  But, then they felt guilty, why were they spared while others burned?  It impacted their relationships with their neighborhood friends.  Then they watched their neighbors rebuild new, fancy houses.  Kitchens got granite counters and bathrooms were robed in marble.  Suddenly his older home looked small and shabby by comparison.  He said, he was really jealous of his neighbors new homes.  He said that in the end it would probably have been best to have his house burn like everyone else.  I thought that was so interesting.  There is an interesting sociological point here about fitting in with the social norms, but that isn't the point.

My mother and I joke that the problems with our house are best solved with a match.  Sure rebuilding would enable me to fix all the issues with the house, it is a long and complicated process.  Not one I'm sure I can manage.  But, if everyone is going to loose their house, I guess it is just stuff and I can replace stuff.

What would the other ladies save?  Check them out at: Froggie, Momarock, and Merrylandgirl.


  1. that's scary about the fires. it's good that people give warnings. when we were expecting hurricane irene, i was on edge all week with anxiety and then nothing happened out by us.
    the sociological norm thing is interesting going from survivor guilt to jealousy. right now, i feel guilty having my power back while some people still don't have power yet.

  2. That was a really interesting take, and it was neat getting to see what people who have gone through a disaster like this go through, and are thinking. I would have never known or even thought about the social aspect of it.