by NATALIA HAWK
If my house was burning down, I would risk my life to save the clock hanging up in our kitchen.
Not because I’m a particularly punctual person. That’s got nothing to do with it.
You see, I have a lot of possessions, but the great majority of them could be very easily replaced if they were to be reduced to ash in a house fire. Furniture, books, my iPad - I wouldn’t need to take any of that stuff. I wouldn’t even need to lug the photo albums out of the house because all my photos are now on my phone, which is attached to my hand at all times anyway.
I wear the jewellery that is precious to me, and we have a fireproof safe that would protect the passports. I’m not sentimental about any of my clothes.
But I would definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY grab that kitchen clock.
At first glance, the kitchen clock looks like any other clock. However, it just happens to be the loudest clock on this planet. The “tick-tock” sound can echo through our quiet house, and on many occasions I’ve had to bury it in the pantry to just make it STOP BLOODY TICKING.
The clock dies at least once a week and has to be smacked on its clock face to be restarted. It chews through batteries faster than Tickle Me Elmo.
But when my parents were migrating to Australia thirty years ago, the only thing they could bring from their home in Poland was the clock. Nothing else would fit in their two tiny suitcases.
They got to Australia, they hung it up on the wall, and it reminded them of home and made them happy every time they saw it. Two children and three decades later, it still hangs up on the wall, (loudly) ticking away.
That silly noisy clock is the sound of my childhood and the sound of my parent’s story and it is absolutely on my burning-house list, along with a ratty stuffed rabbit I’ve had since birth that my grandmother bought for me.
Photographer Foster Huntington has spent several years driving around, asking people what they would save from their burning house. He made the answers into a series of photographs that then formed the basis of his website, The Burning House.
Some of the photographs make sense. Some don’t. Either way, it’s a fascinating window into what material items we really come to care about. Take a look:
Anze, 21, digital camera, ukulele, Jim Morrison T Shirt, iPhone, necklace, note book, house key
See more at theburninghouse.com.
What would you save from a burning house (besides loved ones & pets – they go without saying, we hope)?