Save That Book by Andy Scheer
If you had to evacuate your home, what handful of books would you save?
This past week as a wildfire threatened the west side of Colorado Springs, the question of what to save became very real for some 30,000 residents. As neighborhoods fell under “pre-evacuation” status, people were advised to take key items if they had to flee. The suggested list included financial records, legal documents, prescriptions, spare clothing, pet food, and personal hygiene items.
According to the Denver Post, Ted Stefani, an Army surgeon who recently served in Afghanistan, had time to save their dog, the title to their car, computer hard drives, birth certificates, mementos from Iraq and Afghanistan, a baby blanket, and some clothes.
After he reunited with his wife and young son, they realized he'd forgotten a few key items. Fortunately they could replace their son's favorite teddy bear. And the two books the boy needs to hear each bedtime are still in print: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (1947) and Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt (1940).
I'm grateful I wasn't displaced. Unlike the Stefani family and many others in Colorado Springs, I didn't lose my home. But their experience made me consider what items I'd try to save. Professionally, my netbook, flash drive, and portable hard drive would top my packing list. I'd also like to save a few photo albums from my pre-digital days. I'd hate to have to reassemble the collection of 45 rpm records I use when I call square dances. But I've already converted my favorite LPs to digital format on my portable hard drive. And I've never gotten into the habit of writing notes in Bible margins.
But books? My granddaughter's nursery doubles as a repository for a fairly extensive collection of signed first editions by a few twentieth century authors. If I could save only one, I'd rescue an autographed first edition of a $1.25 mass paperback released by Pyramid in 1973: The Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler. (The current market value is somewhat higher.) I prize the book not simply because of its condition and moderate rarity, but also because it was a generous gift from a friend and fellow writer.
After that, perhaps I'd save a copy of the quirky children's book Rennet Dessert Is Nice by Pat the Bunny author Dorothy Kunhardt. Or maybe some original Tom Swift books that were my father's when he was a boy. With so many titles, the choice is tough.
What about you? If--after loading your family and pets, essential documents and computer, some clothing and supplies--you still had room for two or three books, what would you take?