The Getaway Box

I've been having random childhood memories pop into my mind for the last year or so. Maybe it's because I'm slowly trying to detox, and old lost stuff is starting to bubble up.

A recent memory: For several years, probably between the ages of 11 and 14, I used to keep a shoebox full of emergency supplies stashed in my closet in case I suddenly needed to run away. Among other things, it contained the following:

  • a can of sardines
  • a can of condensed milk
  • a film canister containing wrapped bouillon cubes
  • a field guide of edible wild plants (for after I'd finished the sardines, milk & bouillon)
  • a jack-knife
  • a piece of gum
  • a quantity of string
  • safety pins (to use as fishing hooks at the end of the string)
  • waterproof matches in a plastic bag
  • a candle stub and small Dickensian candle holder
  • a set of 4 plastic cards with basic survival instructions printed on them, such as what to do if bitten by a brown recluse spider or struck with hypothermia
  • a mirror (for signalling to planes, as described on survival cards)
  • a "stove" made in Girl Scouts--a tuna can in which you coil a strip of cardboard, then cover the cardboard with wax

Just like everyone else, I was a strange child. I was obviously planning to live in the woods (rather than going to the city and living in a box, seeking a job as a ho) much like the main character in Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain. Obviously a book that influenced me plenty. To this day I am prepared to live in a hollow tree and eat squirrels and nettles... as long as I had a really really good reason. Maybe as a form of political protest.

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