Friday, January 11, 2008

Just Got Back . . . From a "Small" Tragedy

About 5:30 this evening I heard what sounded like the sirens of every emergency vehicle in town going off and they seemed to converge nearby. Being the curious (read nosy) soul that I am I had to go investigate.

A house fire. About 4 city blocks from my apartment.

The building was a fine old brick house built before the Civil War. It wasn't one that had the eye of the local historical society but it was old, solid and classic. We have a lot of them in that neck of the woods.

Needless to say, the family that lived there was affluent, to say the very least. But when you lose your house and its contents, it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor. I'm sure they were insured (as I am) and they will probably be able to replace what can be replaced.

But some of the things we value the most are things that cannot be replaced and are of little monetary value. I have some very old books that my Grandfather gave me just months before he died. They are of questionable value as textbooks, and of some little value as antiques, but their real value is who gave them to me.

I have oil paintings that I have done.

Thousands of Wargaming miniatures that I have hand-painted, many of them by companies that are now out of business and will never be seen again.

Notebooks full of classnotes, as well as thoughts and ideas of my own.

Old style Estes Model Rockets built with real balsa parts.

Most of my family pictures have been scanned and digitally stored and everyone in the family has them, so they would be replaced without to much difficulty.

Insurance would replace a lot of things, but not the things that matter most.

When their house is burning, there are no rich people.


Blogger Bob said...

You got that right.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Seth said...

Many years ago, an upstairs neighbor in an apartment building my ex-wife and I lived in managed to burn down the building in the wee hours... we barely got out before our bedroom ceiling caved in, fire and all.

Insurance can reimburse, but unfortunately it can't replace.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

None of that is important. I try not to let the things I own define me. Posessions tie you down and give you feet of clay. I still have some old comics from 35 years ago at my mother's house but I have not loooked at them for years. Of all of the things from my childhood, all that I have is a rocking chair that my parents bought when I was in grade school. Sometimes I wish that my house would burn down. It would lift the wieght of these posessions off my shoulders and allow me to realign my life. Creative destruction.
As long as the people are safe. All life is irreplacable.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Where I live, in the summer, I NEVER want to think about fire because it has come entirely TOO close on a number of occasions.

Tim, I submit you are wrong. I suspect you are young. When memories fade, your tangible memories may be all you have left. You treasure them more, you protect them more. Life is irreplaceable, yes; come write to me about your family and what you would save when your family is to the Four Winds and you are 60.


10:04 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

I feel sorry for the family that lost their home, hope they are all ok. I have things I treasure. When I left my husband, I took my kid's baby pictures. I'm so glad I did.

3:00 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

bob thanks

seth I'm glad you got out too.

tim Material things are not the final value but they do have some value.

bz I saw that in the news.

lp They are OK. The fire badly damaged the attic and the roof. The 2nd and ground floor got some fire damage, and a lot of smoke and water damage, but they may be able to salvage the building. That astounds me but they made buildings a lot tougher 150 years ago.

3:31 PM  

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