Teachers used to ask that now-controversial question of what you would bring if your house was on fire and you only had enough time to get one thing. Our local fire department wrote in to the newspaper when I was a kid, saying that parents should teach their children that the correct answer was nothing because you’re too busy getting the hell outta Dodge. My parents said the correct answer was my sister. Which, okay, makes sense. I wanted to bring photo albums. Maybe because in my parents’ day, photos were rare, and never printed in duplicate. I thought it would be cruel if my parents were so busy getting the birth certificates and social security papers that they left their youth behind. And also, the pictures of their parents, who live halfway around the world. This is a photo of my grandfather from last year. Walking stick, shuffled gait, and wicked sense of humor.
I suppose even if you listened to your local fire department, you could still access Flickr or another photo-sharing site nowadays. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to bring your history wherever you go.