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Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

Recently there was a fire in our area: a mansion a few miles away. Two grandparents and four grandchildren died when an electrical spark lit up the Christmas tree and set the house ablaze. So this is a timely question, and one that actually makes me think I should prepare better for such an emergency — assuming I survived.

First I’d grab all my reusable grocery bags from the garage. I’d fill them with photo albums and the photo books I’ve made over the years. (That’s already more than five!)

Then my laptop would go in a bag, and hopefully a few external hard drives; the fullest one is attached to my husband’s computer which now seems to reside permanently on the dining room table.

In my dresser I keep a few things that are cherished and irreplaceable. First is a report card my grandmother received when she was a senior in high school, another is my “go” bag. These are assorted items from the kids that I plan on having put in my coffin with me when I “go”. They mean nothing to anyone else, but are dear to me. Among the items are my oldest daughter’s first shoes, red leather with striped laces. We let her go barefoot for at least he first year of her life, then when we put shoes on her as the weather turned colder, she hated them and tried to kick them off, leaping around like a dog chasing its tail. Then there are my youngest’s bunny slippers. She wore those everywhere when she was around two; and a pair of her pajamas that were so cute on her that they make me smile every time I look at them. Those and others random things represent special memories for me, and probably for no one else — they should go with me, because no one else could love them more than I do.

Some things are irreplaceable. I’d hate to lose all my photos. I actually have most of them on a thumb drive; I should find it now because it would be much easier to haul out of the house in case of an emergency.

The last thing is a fireproof box we keep in the closet near the front door. It contains house insurance papers, birth certificates, passports, etc.: things that are hard to replace, but still not as important to me as the photos and the happy memories they evoke.

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