Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I've heard people say, almost as a game...

If your house was burning down, what three things would you take?

My parents didn't get the opportunity to decide. The house burned while they were gone, and the choice was not theirs.

However, now we are trying to rescue things. It's funny, all of us work so hard to have beautiful, comfortable homes....and in the end, it's mostly just stuff. Stuff that we love, stuff that we miss, but just....stuff. Couches and bookcases are replaceable, and if we're lucky, we even get newer, nicer items to replace what was lost. Kitchens can be remodeled, a new spatula can be bought, and that mixer was really old anyway.

So at the end of the day, most things aren't important, or are easily replaced (when you have insurance money). So what we're rescuing is of value to almost nobody....except us. My parents have all of this in perspective, and they know it's just stuff....but it still aches. Of course it does.

My Grandma Marian (Brown) Goddard kept a cookbook that was really a daybook, but instead of writing in it like a journal, she hand wrote recipes in it, and occassionally taped in a recipe from the newspaper or a magazine. Hundreds of pages of my grandmother's recipes, in her handwriting, bound in a rubber band because the binding long since disintegrated. I nearly cried from joy when I found it - a victory!

My grandparents' Bibles - treasures because of the hands that loved them, the names carefully written in their covers. My mother's baby book. The Polaroid picture of me taken on the day I got my All Round Cord in Girl Guides (sort of like being an Eagle Scout). My brother's kindergarten yearbook.

Really, just scraps of paper....but they mean so much.

We asked Tessa what she would most want to save. "Special Blanket and Special Bear." Oh yes, those are good.

For me? My wedding ring (on my finger, so it's with me anyway). All of Tessa's baby pictures (and beyond). Grandpa Goddard's bookcase. Tessa's baby book.

I hope I never have to face what my parents are facing. They've been through worse, but this is no fun, no fun at all.

I have received several offers from friends to help my parents. I want to say thank you, because the offers mean so much. My parents are very comfortable in their motorhome - king sized bed, leather couches, small but functional kitchen with dishes, fridge, stove, microwave, etc. They even have a small washer/dryer in there. In short, they do not need things - actually, they have nowhere to put things! They are cozy and it is a lovely space. If you want to do something, right now a card with a personal sentiment is probably the right thing. They're on the phone a lot right now with insurance and restorers and the like, and it's all pretty overwhelming and tiring, so a note in the mail is about the right speed. Their mailbox was not attached to their house (it was up the street), so they can still get mail at the regular address.

My Dad thinks that they'll probably be "home" by Easter. There's along road between here and there.

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