After 9/11, and again after Katrina, I asked myself just what I would take if I had 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 hours to gather things up and evacuate my home. With the fires in California, I've been thinking about this again, especially since my niece Molly asked my sister Trish what she would take if she could only take one thing. (My one thing - assuming my husband is safe and sound: my laptop.)
5 Seconds: My laptop, pocket book, cell phone and, of course, my husband, who would, presumably, be grabbing a couple of things of his own. (Could I grab all this in 5 seconds? I'll have to time myself.)
5 Minutes: All of the above, and a week's worth of clothing - all practical, LL Bean-ish, built-to-last stuff. My Palm Pilot. Plus Sniffy (my childhood stuffed animal), my grandmother Rogers' cookie jar, my grandmother Wolf's sampler, my father's high-school baseball letter, and my mother's amethyst broach (a gift from my father). A handful of books. And my iPod, and the charger for for both the iPod and the cell phone. Kleenex and lip goop.
5 Hours: More clothing, including some contra-seasonal wear. Depending on the nature of the evacuation - known temporary, or possibly permanent - and the nature of my next accommodation - high school gym or my sister Kath's house in Brookline - I'd take batteries, flashlights, radios, water, screw driver, hammer, pliers, utility knife, pillows, blankets, string, tape, paper, pens, can opener, toilet paper, a couple of plates-cups-forks-knives-spoons, a pot (not to piss in). A few canned goods. Hopefully, whatever accommodation I found would be indoors: I don't have outdoorsy things like a tarpaulin. I might try to find the plastic Santa on a reindeer with a lightbulb in his belly. (Five hours is a pretty long time.)
What I would put all of this stuff in is another question, of course.
I have a small car (Beetle), but I'm intending to get rid of it in the next month or so. So, what I take would have to be what I could fit in my backpack, two roller-bags, and my shopping cart. We might have to carry the blankets and pillows on our heads.
If I had the room. If, say, someone was coming by with a big old car to pick us up and evacuate us, I'd take some of the art work on my walls. No high monetary value, but aesthetic and sentimental value - and it would make whatever house I ended up in next a home.
What would you take?
For the record, Molly's "one thing" was a collective one: her WebKinz. (Kind of like those people in the express checkout line who count four yogurts as one thing because they're sold four for 3 dollars.) If she had to take just one WebKinz it would be the pig, Paul, who is might cute - and looks even cuter in his little plastic Red Sox cap. Trish would do the mom thing and take Oatie Bear, Molly's favorite stuffed animal from baby days.