My Most Precious Possession

During a memoir writing workshop at the Wyoming Writers conference I attended a couple of weeks ago, one of many story ideas we were given was this. If your house was on fire, and all the people and animals were safe, what would you take with you? This reminded me of a conversation I had with my sister-in-law years ago after they evacuated their home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as a result of a forest fire that threatened the small town. Thankfully, their house remained in tact, but something my sister-in-law said made me want to strangle her.

She explained that since she and my brother didn’t know if their house would survive the fire, they’d crammed as many of their earthly possessions as they could into their mini-van including two small children and two cats. She’d insisted on taking their photo album, although there was little room. I wanted to tell her that more memories can be made and more pictures taken, but you can’t replace yourself or a loved one. Being a mother, she should have focused more on making sure she and her children were safe.

If my house were on fire, I suppose I might try to rescue my tablet and SD card containing some of my writing. Then again, call me vain, and maybe it’s my fear of fire and death that are talking, but my most precious possession is me. Photographs can be re-taken. Computers can be replaced. Writing can be rewritten. You can bake a cake again, even if you don’t have the recipe. Life, on the other hand, is the most precious possession of all.

What about you? If your house caught fire, and all the people and animals were safe, what would you take with you? I hope I’ve convinced you that this is a no-brainer, but if I haven’t, I’d be interested in reading about any treasured items you might try to rescue and the stories behind them. That’s the point of this exercise, anyway. You can share your stories on your own blog with a link here or in the comment field below. In any case, I hope to hear from you.


Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at:

8 thoughts on “My Most Precious Possession”

  1. What a good question, Abbie! My husband and I have a Suzy Orman documents case that is kept up to date by using her file system in the case. It is like an attache case that was designed for keeping documents all in one place and for emergencies. My children all have been shown where this case is – in my office and sitting out in pain view. They have been told if anything suddenly happens to me and my husband, this is what they need to get out of our house immediately. It has everything in it that we would need if we lost our home or had to leave quickly – With this in mind, I would say the first thing I would take is the legal documents which are in this case. What else? I’d grab a box of photos – also in my office. They are photos of my family – old photos of past generations. And, to satisfy my vanity, I’d grab my red Coach handbag – the Tyler! it holds my wallet, some special stones II am a stone-keeper) and some lipstick.


  2. I’m happy I stumbled here. What a great blog. I have to disagree about the photos, some cannot be retaken. They are the first I’d go for and the oldest ones I’d go for first. I hope to never be in that situation!


    1. Thank you for your comment. Please check back often. I update here on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I always enjoy having new readers, even if they disagree with me. I wish you ⠁⠇⠇ the best in your endeavors.

      Liked by 1 person

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