The House is Burning Down…What do I Grab?

House Fire

Photo Credit: IW Blogger

Yesterday this was the daily prompt on The Daily Post:

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

This is the first time I’ve ever done a writing prompt. But I read someone else’s response and decided I wanted to do this one.

So let me see. I can grab five things, right? Well I have my college diploma. I have my college class ring (still my single most expensive purchase). My laptop on which I type all of my blog posts. I have my cap and gown in my closet. Maybe that’s it?

But no. I wouldn’t grab any of those things. Not even my ring. Why? BECAUSE I MUST SAVE MY BOOKS! Seriously. I wrote in a post last year sometime that in this very situation I’d save my books. Let me refresh your memory as to how I’d do it. I have two shelves. Right around 180 books. A good number, but not too many. And there’s a window right in the middle of both of them. First, I’d break that window. Easy enough. Then I’d grab whatever trash bag I could find in the kitchen and just start throwing my books inside as fast as I possibly could. Yes, throwing. No time to be pretty about it. If it came time for me to have to get out of the house and all of my books weren’t saved yet, I’d start throwing them out the window without the bag. I’d rather have a dirty, wet book than no book.

What would you grab?

48 thoughts on “The House is Burning Down…What do I Grab?

  1. As much as I love my books, they can all be replaced. (Well, maybe not my 120+ year-old copy of The Count of Monte Cristo) I would grab my box of wedding photos. My laptop (because all my writing is stored there). My notebooks of all my cheesy detective stories from when I was younger… And whatever artwork I could throw out the window. And maybe my birth certificate. That would probably be a good thing to save as well.


    • Jessica, you have too many notebooks. You’d burn with them. Haha. Yes to your art. Cause then maybe a particular piece will become famous for being inside the burning house and not burning. Then you sell it. Get rich. Book deal. Travel the world. Texas first. The end.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do not. I have them all organized in the closet in my painting room! It would be easy to throw them out the window. Assuming I could get the window open. Old house and all. I haven’t tried. They look pretty old and fragile.
        That’s a good plan though!!

        P.s. WordPress autocorrect is working again. Yes!!


  2. I would grab my purse… because not having my ID would suck after a fire. It would add pain to the process of rebuilding. I’d snag the lock box that I keep our birth certificates, passports and social security cards in for the same reason. Then I would grab my daughter’s art notebooks…. she hasn’t scanned everything, and I’d hate for her to lose her artwork. Likewise, I’d grab both my son and daughter’s favorite blankets. Then I’d take one specific box out of the closet that contains irreplaceable drawings, photos and memories from my children, and from my own childhood as well.

    All of my writing is backed up on cloud storage… same with digital images and anything else electronically stored. Books can be purchased again. In fact, most everything can be replaced. Even family photos on the wall… the photographer can reproduce them for me. It’s the memories that can’t be replaced… those one-of-a-kind items that mean something special. Those are the things I’d hate to lose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hm. All my important documents are in an envelope only I know of. So that could easily be grabbed without wasting time. And I don’t have kids, so I wouldn’t have to think of what they’d want. And you reminded me if a box I have that I hadn’t even thought of. It’s not a box of memories like yours, but it’s of some importance.


  3. The funny thing is, I have thought about this from time to time–what would I save if the house was burning. For me, it would definitely be photos, laptop, and my writing. If I could at least save my photos and writing, I could live with that. I feel beyond that everything else can be replaced.


  4. I would definitely save the books, especially “The Goldfinch” and “The Bosnia List”. Two new books I would feel lost without! Oh – Thanks for following my brand new blog. I can’t wait to read more of your posts! šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this prompt the other day and it sounded like an interesting one. I haven’t posted on my blog for quite a while and this may be my first one back. If I had to quickly say right now, it would be the four boxes of pictures I have acquired as family historian, and my computer. That tells me I need to get them all scanned as I really want to take other stuff out with me, like a file with important papers, my purse and my notebooks (note to self: scan those also). This made me look around at our books. We live in a very small log cabin and 3 of the walls are covered in books. There are thousands of books, some replaceable, some not and some I wouldn’t care about replacing. This is a tough one. I need to think about this. Thanks, John!


      • I would miss the books that I have made notes in. I would not grab my kindle as the Insurance would buy me a newer one and my amazon account would have all the info on my books. After thinking about it, I would not grab my computer for the same reason. I would, however, grab my 2 external drives.
        Pictures are not just paper, they are visual memories and some date back to the late 1800’s. My family, starting with my grandparents were picture takers. The joy I get by looking at the faces of my Papa as a child or my grandparents dancing in their front yard in the 60’s is priceless. I love to read, it is a passion of mine. But, I love genealogy and being the family historian. That is a story in itself, but mine is a picture book also.
        This topic brought about a conversation and we have now scheduled our first Scan Day. With football over, Sundays will be the day we scan our pictures. We both have our familys’ pictures and memorabilia and we both have individual scanners. Hmmm… what food and drink do we plan for Scan Day?


  6. I’m similarly in line with your choice, however I have such a vast library, my bookcase would probably be the first thing consumed by the fire. So if I tried to save my books, I’d die in the attempt.

    I’d definitely take my laptop, which stores all my writings and ideas, the five photo albums of pictures that are not on my computer, my purse (which in itself contains a great portion of my life), my notebooks with handwritten notes and such for my books, and… um… I really can’t think of anything else. Although it would be devastating to lose everything in a fire, as long as I have what contains my memories and my future, I’d be just fine.


    • Haha I guess your books would just burn. Oh well.

      Your writing isn’t backed up somewhere? You’re not the first to say photos, although I don’t get it. They’re just paper. I say leave it all and go for the books. Give them a chance. Haha


  7. I’m not great in a crisis, so I might be too stunned to think at all. But, if I could think straight and flames did not hinder me, I’d grab my pocketbook, my Kindle, my iPhone, and my laptop. One more item. Uh. Well, that’s it. My arms are full and the fire is hot. Blessings to you, John…


  8. After a fire in my apartment building twelve years ago, I keep a go-bag by the door with all important documents, as well as some cash and meds. In that fire, I learned I probably won’t have time to grab 2 things, let alone 5. There’s no time to think at all. Then, I took my cell phone, and my daughter grabbed her teddy bear. Now I’d get my computer. Everything else, including rare books and great art and decades of family photos, will have to take their chances.
    BTW, we have Beowulf only because someone was smart enough to toss it from the window of a burning library in 1731. I hate thinking about the volumes lost in that fire, but weren’t we lucky that most of the manuscripts there were saved? Of course, they didn’t have to choose between books and electronic devices.


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