I stumbled onto a tumblr blog today called The Burning House. At first, I was taken aback. (Admittedly, a burning house is an unusually sensitive subject right now thanks to a dryer fire in our basement over the holidays. No worries, no damage, our new dryer is nicer than the old one anyway. But still. It’s a sore subject.) Dryer foul set aside, the concept just seemed a little morbid to me. But they make an interesting point: “It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.” I don’t want to submit anything to the site, but I wanted to do the exercise on my own.
Here’s what I came up with (from left to right, sort of):
– birth certificates and social security cards (such a pain to replace)
– my camera and a Lensbaby
– photo from a Cardinal game with my best friend, her stepdad and now-deceased mom (Betty, McGwire hit out 67 and 68)
– Tanner’s autographed Trevor Hall CD
– photo of grandma and grampa ice skating when they were still dating
– plaster molds of my kids’ hands (Christmas gifts from elementary school)
– irreplaceable letter from an irreplaceable friend
– handmade cross and vintage charm on silver chain (gift from said friend)
– my grampa’s last bottle of Old Spice
– as many family photos as I could grab (how much time do we have?)
– mom and dad portrait
– grandma and grampa portrait
– antique porcelain doll (gift from an elderly friend when I was a little girl)
– antique German bible (gift from a lifelong friend)
Not pictured: our cats, Drew’s oversized Elmo prize from Sesame Street Live, my Scott Radke prints.
I’m not about to break out my Psych 101 card and pretend to know what all this says about me. But even I can’t deny that “sentimental” clearly wins out. I don’t have a lot of really valuable things, but even if I did, I can’t imagine my list would change much. I would snag what you can’t get back. My kids’ hands will never fit those molds again. No matter how you feel about him now, there will never be another summer of baseball like the one McGwire gave us — and none of us will witness magic with Betty again. Practically everything on my list has a story. I’m guessing my choices aren’t too different from anyone else’s. But what an uncomfortable, interesting exercise.