Arm Yourself Against Fire, Theft, and Who Knows What. . .

Photos and story by Jan Jackson

The only way I could remember.

Before I tell you my story, let me ask you a few questions. I don’t need to know your answers, but you do. Have you taken still photos of every item in your house? Are those images safely stored some place retrievable in case of flood, tornedo, fire, or theft?

            Do you have any idea just how easy it is to do it? Take your camera or smart phone, and in one room at a time, take photos of everything around you. If you have cupboards and doors, open them and take pictures of what you see inside.  That’s it. Done in less than an hour. Now transfer them to a flash drive and put that somewhere safe (on the iCloud, a safety deposit  box or a few friend’s houses. That’s it.

 MY STORY

            My newly widowed mother lived three miles out in the country in the house she had lived in for 52 years. I asked her again and again to let me take a photo inventory of its contents. Each time she said that’s a great idea, but she wanted to tidy things up first.

            I waited until the first time she went to the grocery store and left me in the house alone. I got out my camera and shot it all. We didn’t have smart phones in those days, so I had to have the film developed and put the negatives in an envelope. I gave them to her and said, put these in your safety deposit box. She did it, but she was furious, because she didn’t get to tidy up first.

            Fast forward six months. She awakened in the wee hours of the morning with two masked men in her bedroom helping themselves to her jewelry. My mother (a woman of few words}, called out, “What in the hell are you doing?” Fortunately, they fled without harming her. Upon a quick tour of the house, she saw they had cleaned her out.

THE REST OF THE STORY

Could you itemize these books?

 

            First, she called the police, second, she had the photos printed so she could show them what to look for, and third, she she itemized everything for the insurance company. Because you only get reimbursed for what you remember you have, she got all her money back. Oh, and she never spent a night alone in that house again.

            From her new apartment in town, I asked her if she wanted to talk anymore about the inventory photos. She smiled and said no.

            Now that you’ve ready my story, lets go back to the questions.  Have you taken still photos of every item in your house? Are they safely stored some place retrievable in case of flood, tornedo, fire, or theft? Once again, I don’t need to know your answers. I will remind you however, that you do.

 

Lead fire photo by Bing Bingham.

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People · Rural life

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