How do you decide what to take? What do you choose to save when you have limited space?
Nap time was over, and it was time to pack. My sister called from South Florida. They have no gas, and she was trying to get to work. We started to ask ourselves, should we have filled up this evening? We packed quickly because we needed a good night sleep.
My mom announced, “Pick out what you want to take with you.”
So now it was decision time. There was no imminent danger. We had time to make the hard choices. We came for only three items. Now we had a whole house to choose from. Which items were the most important?
Irma was moving over Cuba tonight, and the Governor of Florida announced an evacuation of South Florida.
Grandmother’s (Nanny we called her) cedar chest filled with memories and some surprises including a picture of a Naval Officer at the very bottom. A face that is only important to someone who knows the story behind it, the fiancé that received a Dear John letter during WWII after she met and fell instantly in love with my Grandfather.
The Hinkle trunk passed through the generations. Its treasures included the wedding dress with a 14-inch waist that competed with Scarlet O’Hara’s. Bits of lace that have yellowed with age. A stack of bank receipts from 1908 that documented a striving businessman at the head of the household. And at the very bottom, a small bundle of love letters hidden from a family that provided proof of a forbidden love before a suitable match could be made.
The beloved wardrobe was slowly unpacked. It’s photos carefully placed in a box, while my father stacked the art books of my childhood education. The stack was as tall as me and decisions had to be made. Monet, Modern Art, Picasso, so many and some had to be left behind.
A set of butterfly coasters that was purchased in Chinatown, NY city. They were not special at the time they were bought, just a small souvenir of an amazing trip. But they will be part of a memory every time they are used.
A butter churn. Yes, I grabbed the farm’s butter churn. Patrick asked in his Campbell North Carolina accent, “You gonna make butter now?”
“No, I’m not going to make butter. But I can remember the taste of the fresh butter on the Hinkle farm table on fresh Hostess bread with my meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans picked from the garden across the creek.”
You see these are all things and I know that. But each one brings a precious memory of the family I love. It will be hard to leave in the morning, not knowing how Irma will affect us as a family, but I’m in charge of the memories safety.
Irma will hit Miami soon, and we must get some sleep for the day of traveling that is coming.
All photos on the website are taken by Tammera Cooper and remain her property.