There is this cool project that I came across from the US called Burning House. Foster Huntingdon is a photographer, who posed the question, if your house was burning down, what would you take. Before all the Grade A pedants shoot their hands in the air and say, “nothing, sir, you must leave immediately” it is a hypothetical question. Foster sees it as a window onto yourself. Think of it as an interview with a single question.
It is interesting, I ran a similar exercise last year in Sydney, and many people said, just the important stuff, you don’t have time for the rest of it, or it’s all stuff and can be replaced. We know though,these things are important to us, as I often quote the resident of Margaret RIver who talks about all the bits and pieces that make me are gone. In most emergency circumstances you do have time to plan for, think about what is important, and do something about it
So for the record, what would I take?
My Dad’s and Grandfather’s medals, and service records
My Mum’s MRs Beeton and our own recipe book
Photo albums and hard drives
Things worth fighting for Collected Speeches of Ben Chifley given to me by my mum for my 18th Birthday (yes I am a nerd)
My Train ticket collection (a real nerd)..a connection to my teenage years
The girls baby boxes
A box of stuff with everything from the Centenary Test Program, to a letter from David Lange, PM of NZ.
My Died Pretty Doughboy Hollow, U2 Achtung Baby, Silver Ray This is Silver Ray, Joe Creighton Holywell, Bernstein IN Berlin, Cantillion Prayer for Peace Joe Jackson Live 80-86 and Keith Jarrett Live at the Blue Note CDs (will explain in another post)
Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra, the book that rekindled my love of reading and Martin Flanagan’s One of the Crowd, which taught me about being humble, and looking beyond the light, into what’s in the shadows
Gift of the Forest book, given to me as recognition of the Hampton High School Citizenship award
My Me Me Mug (my baby mug with two handles, the last remaining thing from my infant years)
A china mouse given to me by my mum as a good luck for HSC exams
My Dad’s sewing kit
My Prince Henry’s Nursing Badge
My Bauhaus Chess set, given to me by my German friends when we left Germany to return to Australia
a reindeer given to me by my wife (for my first birthday when we started dating) and a teddy.
“Bob”, who was made by my daughter Emily and travels with me to help me fly
The little blue gravy jug from our dinner setting when I was growing up
A fleece jumper that has travelled the world with me.
Bang FC Best and Fairest
The tie that I got married in
The Macpherson Cartoon, penned by a well known cartoonist of the time about my maternal Grandfather
So, what would you take?