Recently a friend’s husband drove her to a meeting and returned home after fifteen minutes. Switching on music, he headed to the bedroom and stopped abruptly. Their back window had been smashed; dresser drawers were strewn open, their contents spilling out. Most of his wife’s jewelry was missing, except for a few pieces the burglars had dropped on the floor in their hasty retreat.
“I think he got home in the middle of it,” she said. She was relieved they left her most valued sentimental necklace behind.
Then there was the time my son was four and the floor beneath our feet began rolling. “Earthquake! Run!” I yelled as I scooped up our terrier. We flew past the swinging light fixture and didn’t stop until we reached the middle of the cul-de-sac.
We waited until birds chirped and squirrels chattered once again. After returning to discover overturned file cabinets, right where my son had been playing, I explained what could occur during an earthquake. Later we discovered the extent of the Loma Prieta once we got back our electricity. “Gee,” said Tofer, considering our house could have been demolished. “I should have grabbed Herbie.” (His favorite stuffed animal, which wasn’t an animal at all, but a car.)
During the disastrous Oakland fire of 1991, my friend’s sister and her family were evacuated. She ran past her dresser, noticing a coffee mug, her jewelry box, and a photo album. They didn’t stop running until they got to the base of their hill. That’s when she discovered she held the coffee mug in her hand.
1. What was the first object that held important emotional meaning for you? Why? How did you value it? Describe the item and show how you placed it in esteem.
2. Did your family have any treasured family heirlooms? Write an essay about one’s significance.
3. You have only a minute to grab one item to save from your home. What do you take and why? Describe it using your senses and emotions.
4. In the writing project you are working on now, write about a meaningful object for your main character, a minor character, and even the antagonist. Give background for each. Why do they hold significant relevance? Can any of them be a larger symbol?