Hometown Tour Resumes!

UPDATE:  Thank you all so much for your kind emails and comments about my health this week.  I am feeling much better, though still groggy from all the pain pills.  From what we can put together, I think I originally sprained my muscle while we were in the car on the way up to Gulf Breeze.  I kept turning around in the passenger seat to give Bean toys and things and 6 hours of driving all twisted around like that seems to have caught up with me.  Then while we were having lunch, I passed out while I was picking up Bean Mean, so I think that’s what triggered the spasms.  So, that’s my advice for the day to all you Mom’s out there.  Be careful that you are picking up your baby the correct way to save your back!

After a minor setback with the whole ambulance/guts falling out/emergency room thing this week, I am back to blogging about my hometown.  As I shared on Monday, Gulf Breeze is a barrier peninsula off the coast of Pensacola.  If you’re in Pensacola, you take a three-mile bridge across the bay into Gulf Breeze.  But out past Gulf Breeze, there is a barrier island called Pensacola Beach.  From Gulf Breeze you take a mile long bridge over to the beach.  And it literally is a strip of beach.  There’s a boardwalk and good restaurants and bars.  But a most of the island is residential.

Yesterday, Chris and I drove out to the beach to have dinner with friends and family.  As we were driving around, we passed a lot of places that had memories for both of us.  We passed a parking lot where Chris used to play street hockey and he was happy to see that the city had turned it into an actual street hockey court now.  We passed my college roommate, Neal’s, parent’s house where we used to hang out during our summers.

But we also passed places where things had once stood.  See, as a barrier island, Pensacola Beach takes the brunt of the hurricanes that come through.  Which means the homes on Pensacola Beach take a huge hit.

See all this open space between these two houses?

That’s where Chris’ best friend, Justin’s, house used to be.  It was washed away during a hurricane.  And see all those pilings next to that house?  Those used to be support for another house that stood there before Hurricane Ivan a couple years ago.

Chris’ mom’s house was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan (I think it was Ivan…) a few years ago.  She lost everything, but the most devastating thing was that she lost all of her pictures from when Chris and his sister, Annie, were growing up.  The year after the hurricane, Annie spent months emailing family and tracking down copies of photographs that her mom lost.  She collected pictures of Annie and Chris, but also pictures of Chris’ mom’s childhood as well.  She scanned each picture and put them on a DVD for her mom and she also put the photos themselves into an album.  It was one of the sweetest Christmas presents I’ve ever seen.

I remember when my family moved to Gulf Breeze from Atlanta when I was in sixth grade.  My parents had no experience with hurricanes and so my mom started reading up on them.  One of the things she said to know in advance what you want to take with you if you have to evacuate.  When its time to leave, you have to take care of your property and gas and traffic getting out of town and the last thing you want to have to do is try and think of what possessions you want to bring with you.  My sister and I were each given a small box and told that if we ever had to evacuate, we could fill that one small box, but that would be it.  At the time, I had a pretty standard set of belongings I took with me when we evacuated: my teddy bear, my ballerina Madame Alexander doll, a baby doll my Grandmother brought me from Paris, and extra socks.  Because you always need extra socks.

Driving through Pensacola Beach yesterday, I thought back to my small box of belongings and wondered what I would bring with me now if I had to evacuate and could only take a few things with me.  I would take my shoebox of letters Chris and I wrote each other while we were dating long-distance in college.  And I’d take the Bible that my sister and her fiance gave Bean when he was baptized that has his name and baptism date engraved on it.  I would take a ring that my parents gave me when I turned 21 – its a garnet stone in gold setting, garnet and gold for Florida State University.  And that would probably be it, I think.  Everything else I love is either on me at all times (my Bean necklace and my wedding rings) or my pictures and stories which are saved online.

What about you?  If you had to evacuate and could only take three things with you, what would they be?

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49 Thoughts to “Hometown Tour Resumes!”

  1. Ooh – that’s such a hard decision. All the photos I haven’t gotten around to scanning and putting on Flickr. Man, do I need to get on that!

  2. OHmigosh I don’t know if I could pick. Porbably old pictures, computer since it has all recent pictures, and my baby blanket! Yes, I still have one…

  3. I once lived in an apt building next to one that caught fire. I woke up at 3am to see a building, maybe 30 feet away, blazing, with embers landing on my balcony. I very quickly figured out what I’d grab. I figured I could toss the following in my laundry basket and run out: my dog (okay, she might not be in the basket), my laptop, my purse, whatever clothing was right there and grab-able, and an irreplaceable photo of my dad and I when I’m three or four. Everything else could be replaced.

  4. Kat

    My external HD which had 90% of everything I care about from pictures, to music, to documents, to scanned copies of documents; my ring that my grandma gave me to wear as my “something old” for my wedding day; my scrapbooks which would probably never fit into a small box, but I can’t imagine losing them.

  5. Looking€ oHeaven

    I was in a fire and honestly I didn’t think about anything that I wanted to get out besides my family which we did. It was mostly smoke damage as it was the unit next to ours on fire so we didn’t lose alot but we did incur an insane bill from the dry cleaner.
    If I had to choose I would say my cell so I could call for help, a box of old pictures and making sure my family was with me.

  6. Dyanna

    I would grab my dog, laptop and purse. My husband is always worried that something awful will happen and we’ll have to leave our house in a hurry so we’re always talking about this. We also have a bag made up that stays in our coat closet that has spare dog food (we change it out every few months), bottled water, documents, silver coins, flashlights, granola bars and other things.

  7. Breann

    Other than my dogs (and husband), the external harddrive of our computer (has all the music and photos for our entire lives on it), important papers, and purse. We have evacuated for Hurricane Rita but sat it out for Ike (scariest thing EVER!) so we have had to think about this before!

  8. I just sat here thinking of what I would take. My parents have all of my childhood photos.. well most of them anyway. All of the pictures of our baby are saved online so I wouldn’t worry about those. I guess I would take some of our videos of the baby as a newborn and the necklace my husband bought me on our honeymoon. I don’t even know if I would bother taking those things as I would be a wreck with making sure we all got out safe. Materials are replaceable but my husband and daughter aren’t. 🙂 Great question to ponder.

  9. Jen

    My dad passed away from Leukemia in 2003 and the last xmas we had together as a family of 6, he gave each of us a Bible and he wrote a message to all of us in it so that would definitely go with me.
    I would take the last family picture I have.
    I have a tiny jewelry box with different necklaces and rings passed to me from my mom, grandpa, or some that my dad gave me. I would take that as my third item.

  10. Cassie

    Wait, you’re from Atlanta originally? what part?

    Well, seeing as I’m a college student, I couldn’t say that I possess anything valuable/sentimental, anything of the sort is at my
    parent’s house. So I guess I would take my glasses, dog, and phone!

  11. Lyndsey

    This makes me feel like I should store my photos online somewhere… 🙂 Does my dog count as an “item” or a family member? What about cats? heh. Assuming the pets are family members and not items, I would take:

    1) camera bag (this is assuming my camera and lenses are all actually in the bag)
    2) external hard drive

    hmmm #3 is hard. I don’t have much in the way of tangible things that are not replaceable. I guess maybe my great grandmother’s bracelet, which my parents had restored and given to me for christmas a few years back.

  12. I grew up in Charleston, SC, so hurricanes (and evacuations) were very much a part of my childhood. My husband and I live in North Carolina now but still–if I had to take three things I would take my guitar that my dad gave me for Christmas in 6th grade, my computer that has all of my pictures from college, and my photo albums of high school and my younger years. I would probably want to take more, but clohtes and furniture can be replaced–it’s really the memories and the things that have major sentimental value that need to tag along.

    Glad you’re doing better!

  13. If I could only take three things with me I would take my wedding photo album, my mom (her urn) and my cat!

    Glad you are feeling better.


  14. dave

    MP3 Player

  15. Alyssa

    Wedding photos/video, purse and passport. Replacing your CCs/license,passport- it’s a huge pain. Of course I’d grab my dog but I don’t view him as an ‘item’ 🙂 He’s part of the family!

  16. Mary

    Katie, I love your blog even though I rarely comment but I just have to on this post. My fiance’s family moved from Atlanta to Pensacola Beach when he was five (we’re both 20 now and getting married in December), and he lived there until he was 14 (when they moved to Raleigh, NC, where we went to high school together and started dating our junior year). His mother moved back to Atlanta after we graduated. This past summer we took a trip to Pensacola Beach so that I could see where he grew up. His house isn’t there anymore either (also destroyed by Ivan) but as we were rummaging through the sand I found an old chunk of his dining room floor which we kept. His neighbors still live there and we visited with them (he used to take dance lessons with them so I got to see some incriminating photos… hehe!). And we visited his favorite places growing up– the little arcade/mini-golf place on the beach, the Aegean Breeze (SO TASTY), Billy Bob’s Beach Barbeque (ALSO TASTY)… it was so much fun! Reading your post brings back memories of that trip… now I want to go back! (We’re in New Hampshire and Massachusetts respectively, and we could really go for some beach weather!)

    P.S. I’m glad you’re okay after yesterday!

  17. Three things would be so difficult (which obvs makes it a really challenging exercise)…

    I’d take my jewelry box, not because it has much monetary value, but because it holds my wedding jewelry, a ring I inherited from my grandmother, and a necklace my mother-in-law gave me.

    The oil painting my mother painted for me of the view outside my childhood home.

    An envelope of special papers – cards from my husband since we were dating, newspaper clippings of my father and brother, acceptance letters, etc.

    I can’t believe my laptop makes the top 3, but it – and all the intellectual property on it – is replaceable; those other things aren’t.

    On another note, so glad you are feeling better!

  18. Bama

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pensacola Beach! We’ve visited for the past 3 summers and will probably be coming back this summer as well! It’s so beautiful!

  19. Oh gosh. First of all, I would get the dog and try to catch the cat. I have a feeling that she would probably be a pain in the butt, but maybe I could catch her. Then I would pack my laptop, external hard drive, and camera bag. I think that’s the only things that I absolutely could not replace. Everything else is just stuff. Memories and family is what really matters.

    Marla @ http://www.asthefarmturns.wordpress.com

  20. Hi Katie,
    As I’ve shared before, our time spent in the panhandle overlapped each others, I’m sure we even share some of the same friends, (Blair Taylor? )it’s funny how when we (as in general) were younger living in Florida, hurricanes were treated in the same weird anticipation as snow days (Hurricane parties), I really can’t think of one teenager who didn’t take hurricane warnings without a shot of tequila and didn’t think in relief, woo-hoo free school days or no class!, it is a weird phenomenon that is Floridian kids.


  21. Oh and I would take my grown up file of important things (passports, ss cards, marriage/birth certs etc.) laptop, and my one and only beautiful D&G bag.

  22. Mel

    This is a very real question for me seeing as how I live on the coast too. I’m from the north so I’ve never experienced a hurricane. Friends that have lived here all their lives barely blink when a storm is moving in but I get pretty worked up. I bought a carrier for the cat last year so that we could just chuck him in there if we needed to leave quickly. As far as possessions I have to say that I’d pack my grandmother’s mixing bowls. I’d also pack up all the photo albums. That’s a lot of boxes already! Everything else is pretty replaceable but pictures are really important to me.

  23. Hmm…The cats, my violin, our safebox of documents, wedding pictures, a few items of jewelry (the important stuff – wedding rings – we wear) and I think that’s it. Everything else is replaceable.

  24. Nate's Mom

    We were once in a building fire and we grabbed the stupidest things. I think Chad grabbed his toothbrush (to his credit, it was 5AM) and something else, but we both totally forgot to grab the keys to the apartment, so the firemen gave us a “ride” back “into” our apartment…through the window. If we had our wits about us, I would grab the box of our eHarmony correspondence (we wrote every day to each other for 3 months before meeting) and the cats, if they were easily reachable. We made an agreement a while ago that we would leave the doors wide open and know that the cats will find their way out, rather than being burned alive trying to find the cats that were likely already outside. I love how pictures and stuff are now stored online. My mom sent duplicate copies of all of my baby albums to my Aunt in Ohio just in case our home burned down….

  25. Oooh…three things?

    I don’t know if I could pick just three. See…I have a lot of my great grandma’s things. Like her hankie collection. One of which is over a hundred years old and has been passed down. The other was the first gift my great grandpa gave her while they were courting. And Q-Tip’s things…like her bracelet she wore during her baptism. Such a hard thing to think about.

    I’m so sentimental…




  26. Sarah

    I had the same back problems from the same thing, if you guys still have health insurance you should see a chiropractor, if not do it as soon as Chris starts working again. My chiropractor is a life saver and keeps me straightened out when I do dumb things to keep my little one from fussing too much.

  27. If I didn’t have time to think about what to take. I would probably leave everything. (When my mother’s house caught fire last year, she did the same thing.) Grab the dog, one quick scan for the cat, grab the kid and get out.

    If I had to plan, which I guess would be a good idea!, and had 10 mins to grab things, I’d take my computer box (I’d leave the rest, cables and all!, our camera because I can’t miss the opportunity to take pictures & a blanket whichever one I can find because it would always smell like home. Everything else, in my opinion, could be replaced. I could later blow up the safe if needbe to get the docs that are in it, but they are all replaceable. It is a hassel to get ID’s replaced, my purse was once stolen, but it can be done.

    This is also a good reason to always have a couple of phone number memorized and not rely on your cell phone.

    Glad you seem to be feeling better!!

  28. ooo, good question–def my scrapbooks and my kitties (that’s obvious), several pieces of jewlery that are meaningful and probably not too much else.

  29. If I had to take three things, it would be my net book (all of my pictures are on it), my scrapbook (it has all of my childhood pictures) and my wedding and engagement ring ( I am currently too fat to fit either of them- the costs of having two babies so close in age!).

  30. You wouldn’t take your computer? I’d take our laptops, desktop, phones. Haha. But I would also take our wedding album, letter from my husband, all the jewelry I’ve been given over the years (mostly from parents) and generally the contents of our small safe. And then some things my son wore when he was teeny. Some photo albums (like the one my mother gave me of my baby pictures when my son was born – they’re not scanned). Ok, I’d need a solid hour and a few suitcases. But I have thought about this before (hello anxiety!). If there was a hurricane I’d load up one of our two cars. If it were a fire, though…. hmm. I think I need to go consolidate a few things and leave them closer to the front door…

    1. So I guess what I’m saying is that I would take three suitcases. 😉

  31. I would definitely grab my blankie, my MacBook Pro, and my pug!

  32. my kindle
    my grandmother’s pearls
    my grandpa’s dog tags
    that might be it.

  33. There’s not very much that I think I would absolutely need. Like you I have a ring my parents gave me that means a lot that I would grab and a diamond necklace my mom gave me. Also, a scrapbook my big sis made for me when she deserted me to move to NYC.

    I remember in one of my grad school classes this was an opening question used to get people to open up to each other and I swear EVERYONE said their computers. And not for the pictures – just the idea of being without their laptops made them tremble with fear. I just remember I couldn’t believe how unsentimental everyone was.

  34. Sarah C. H.

    My cameras (with the sd cards inside them.) Our Wedding Photos. A book or two (y’know to read when we’re holed up in a hotel somewhere.)And my movie collection (it’s in a folder…i love my movies.)

    I’m from the Carolinas but currently am in Southern California…all of my valuable things are back east right now.

  35. Ella

    Id take an antique clock that was my grandmothers, old photos and my jewellery.
    Glad you are feeling better 🙂

  36. Angela

    My dog
    Photo albums.
    A wooden saints bracelet from the Vatican


  37. Thank you for sharing this Katie and what a lovely walk down memory lane for me. Back in Year 2005 when we drove to Gulf Breeze via Pensacola Beach to attend your wedding we saw all the destroyed houses still very much intact due to the hurricanes. I remembered that long bridge we crossed as well and this will always remained a special place for the family.

    Gosh….what to grab I suppose it has to be all the photos when Bibiana & Shania were much younger plus our honeymoon photos too.

    Hugs to Bean and Big Hugs to all at home Katie 😀

  38. my guy and i were also high school sweethearts (although he was two years ahead of me), and there is a beautiful picture of us from his prom (back when i was still thin… sigh) that i have in a neat frame that i would take with me. in it would also (of course) be my teddy bear, a pair of pretty sparkly shoes that my mom gave me (i think it’s kind of symbolic, they look like a silver version of the Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers and i figure than when i’m wearing them i can always click my heels together and be home), and a few photos, like my sisters wedding photo, a small album of my mom and dad before they had me, and a picture of me, my dog and my brother, which is especially dear to me because he is in rehab right now. i’d also have to drill holes in that little box to keep my hamster in it. i know it seems like a lot, but i invest a lot in little posessions like that.

    and, of course, i would have my favorite guitar (a Blueridge BR-140 Dreadnaught, given to me as a graduation present) strapped across my back. i don’t care if i had to brave the water and FLOAT on that thing, it is by far my most prized possession!

  39. Melissa

    As an Orlando native, I learned at a young age that pictures should be one of the first items to take when evacuating. (at leaste before CD’s and internet)

    Now, I would take my blanket that was given to me when I was a baby, baby pictures of me and my husband which have not been scanned and my mother’s wedding ring that she gave to me last year.

  40. Anne

    My purse, my son, and my animals. :O)

  41. Katrina Porter

    I would have to say the three things I would have to grab is my pictures/negatives, my external hard drive and my cat.

  42. It’s amazing that when we think about the important things to us it’s the things that prolong our memories. They’re talking about tornados coming through here tonight and I was actually thinking about this before reading your post…not that I can get away from a tornado like you can a hurricane. Pictures (aka my hard drive) would be the first thing I’d grab. My wedding DVD, the necklace my parents gave me for graduation. The furbabies are part of the family so they don’t count 🙂

  43. It would have to be my three furry kids: 2 cats and a dog! 😉 But if we were talking about things and not animals…the bracelet Rob gave me (his first Christmas gift to me), my laptop, and my favorite ring that my mom gave me.

  44. Emilyc

    We live on the west coast of Florida and have seen our share of hurricanes. We have had to pack up on several occasions and there’s always time to grab more than three things but if I only had three to choose from it would be my dogs, a suitcase filled with as much crap as possible and my hard drive. 🙂 When we do pack up I put all my pictures and the family Bible in my oven and lock the door. Our house suffered a ton of damage during Charlie but I didn’t loose my stove and all my pictures were safe! I think I heard that on the news when they were giving tips and I’ve done it for the last six or seven years…sometimes I heed the strangest advice!

  45. Zoe

    Wow, you grew up in such a beautiful area!

    I’d take the hard drive that has everything from mine and my partner’s computers backed up on it. Then my jewelery box that has all the jewelery given to me by loved ones. Then probably my shoebox full of letters, cards, dried flowers, trinkets etc from my partner. Then I’d run like hell!

  46. Ginny (not her sister)

    I’m a grad student, so the first thing I would grab was my external hard drive. Possessions are replaceable, a year of data isn’t. 😛 The only other is my quilt, my aunt made it for me when I graduated high school, and has been on my bed ever since and has been there with me for a lot of things, first love, homesickness, heartbreak, hanging out with friends, everything!

  47. That’s a tough one. I’d probably have to take my laptop-because it has all of my pictures (including some that aren’t backed up, oops!), and my “Joe box” (which is filled with stuff my husband has given me throughout our relationship).

    P.S. I had the funniest dream the other night that I just have to share with you! I dreamt I was on the Pioneer Woman’s ranch and we were cooking together and hanging out with her kids. At the end of our get-together, she drove me home in her pickup. While we were in the car, I suddenly thought of you and quickly told the PW “before I forget, when you’re in Orlando, you should meet Katie from Marriage Confessions!”

    I think that proves that I spend wayyy too much time reading blogs.

  48. Lily

    Hi Katie –
    I haven’t posted for eeons – but I just have to say that is so cool that you are from the Pensacola area. My family used to go to Destin for many summers of my childhood – oh we had so much fun. I’ve been through Mobile, Pensacola and Gulf Breeze many times and I’m dying to go back! The only thing I would give up are the jelly fish! aah! Otherwise, I think that area has the best wading waves ever! I hope get back down there with my family some day. I’ve been to the Naval Museum in Pensacola many times too.
    Ok – I just had to share that – I’ve never ‘met’ anyone from that area and I’ve only met one person outside of my family who has even heard of Destin!

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