Our Irreplaceable Lives

Our state, and especially our area, has been experiencing wildfires this summer. We live on a mountain bench with dry brush and trees. Any little fire spark could instantly ignite. Couple that with the daily blustery winds we have been experiencing and we have a probable disaster on our hands.

So I decided to gather all of my important memorabilia into totes and set them aside so that if an evacuation becomes a reality this summer, we can grab the totes, load them into our car, and be on our way. But what I didn’t anticipate was how many totes I would fill: seven. And that doesn’t include the “last minute” items I would need to grab, such as the external hard drives that I use on a daily basis. Oh, and did I mention the 17 totes in the basement that contain scrapbooks and other family memorabilia that spans 24 years?

It became apparent that I needed to re-assess what was irreplaceable. In today’s technological world, it’s easier to decide than it was 20 years ago. I have all of my photos and negatives scanned–and with my digital images–copied to Gold DVDs. So all of my photo albums and photo books are technically replaceable. I have all of my video captured to external hard drives, so all of my mini DV tapes are technically replaceable. I have all of my important documents scanned, so my fire proof file box is technically replaceable. After determining this, my stack of totes went from seven to five.

So what is not replaceable? My family history, which I am the keeper of for both of my parent’s families. My external hard drives, the Gold DVD’s, my Time Machine…and those 17 totes. Those totes contain drawings, and reports, and trophies, and quilts, and tangible items that make up the lives of six family family members over the past 24 years. They are irreplaceable. Sure, you could take pictures of items or scan each page of each scrapbook; but, in the end, you don’t get the same effect. There’s a big difference between looking at a photo of a drawing, and holding the actual drawing and inspecting it. Which gives more pleasure: looking at a photo of a Picasso painting, or looking at the original Picasso painting in a museum? I think I know the answer.

So if we are evacuated, I need to find a vehicle that will hold 22 totes of important family memorabilia. Wish me luck.

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