Isaac Olaleye, Children's book author, Bitter Bananas, Bikes for Rent, and The Distant Talking Drum
I've never been in a situation where I had to flee, but I've always thought, "What if there was a fire? What would I like to take out of my house?" First, it would be my manuscripts and pictures very quickly. Since I'm a writer, I would take my book manuscripts. They are very precious to me, and they are not replaceable. It would be too much work to try and do them all over again. They are on paper, in different files for different subjects. I handwrite everything first and then have someone else type them. And then old pictures -- you cannot replace those. I moved here from Nigeria. I was in my late 20s when I came here, and I only brought a small amount of things with me. I didn't have much. Where I came from, they used to say, You don't have to keep up with the Joneses because the Joneses have nothing much to keep up with. There's a limit to what you can take, so I took a few clothes and my books. So the last thing I'd take is my cell phone so I can get in contact with people in case they are wondering if I am dead or alive.
Tera Black, Chief operating, officer, San Diego Gulls
I would take my first daughter's ashes. We lost her when I was eight months pregnant. Those ashes represent the most life-changing experience that I've ever been through. But the silver lining through all that is the wonderful two-and-a-half-year-old daughter we now have who never would have come to be. I would also bring something my grandfather gave me. He gave me more than 30 reels of old film footage from when my father was young. My father's going to be 60 this year. I haven't looked at them yet, so I would want to take them. Family movies are neat. It's nice to be able to look back on your past, and I would want my daughter to have that opportunity. And I would bring all my photos. I know it's kind of a cliché, but when I see a wedding photo or when I was in college, you look back on yourself and that moment in time. And if I couldn't take all my albums, then I'd just take the photos of my baby.
Jonathon Shockey, Captain/defenseman, San Diego Gulls
I'd have to have a variety of clothes. I know it sounds silly, but I couldn't wear the same thing every day. Does that count as one thing? Could it be a wardrobe of clothes? It keeps me entertained, and you have to have style points. I'd also have to have stuff to read. So I'd take the Bible. It's all about the straight and narrow. And the last one would be one of my motorcycles -- a custom chopper. My favorite one would be the blue custom Harley.
Martin St. Amour, Coach, San Diego Gulls
I would take an unlimited supply of Silver Oak Cabernet 2001. The '99 is good, but I prefer the 2001. The Napa Valley vineyard, not the Alexander Valley. I just enjoy that bottle of wine. I had it two years ago at a wine tasting. I like the smoothness and the buttery cherry taste. I enjoy wine in general and that bottle in particular. A bottle of wine -- even if it's the same year -- each tastes a little bit different. Then I would have to bring some music. Can I bring a lot of music? Okay, if I had to limit it to one, it would be U2 Joshua Tree -- that's probably my favorite album of all time. Every song is different. It's a group I've admired since I was young, and I've seen them five times in concert. I also like Bono as a human being. He does good things for people. I also like their music because a lot of their songs mean something and you can understand what he's saying. Number three for me would be some kind of vehicle that I could transport myself in. I have a motorcycle, a brand-new Hummer, and a 1956 Willy. So if I had to take just one, I'd take the Willy -- a Ford Overland, the first four-by-four. It's a California beach car. It barely has a radio, no air conditioning, but I love to drive it.
Gabriela Anaya Valdepeña, Poet and artist
I would take all my family pictures, my collector's-edition copy of Flowers of Evil, and my red velvet cloak. To be more specific, I would take my daughter's baby pictures and the family photos that I haven't scanned. I don't know why I didn't mention my poetry first. It's very important to me, but I have books out and my poetry's on the Net, and I could always write more poems. Someone once asked Picasso, you have a lot of artwork in your studio. If there was a fire, which piece would you take first, and he said he'd take the cat. I feel that way. I can write more poems, but I can't replace the pictures or that cape. I could have said I'd take my computer, but I'm a poet and that doesn't sound very romantic. It's more dramatic to take a book and cloak.
Flowers of Evil was written by Charles Baudelaire, and I am the bride of Baudelaire -- saucy, irreverent, and dangerous. He was a mid-19th-century French poet, considered a romantic poet by some. It's a leatherbound book that my friend found at a garage sale. It's inscribed in gold, has gold pages, and it has a little wine-colored velvet bookmark. Beautiful. She found it for $3 right before my birthday, and she sent it to me. The red velvet cloak is textured velvet and has a faux fur collar. It's really dramatic, and it's warm. It was in the window of a specialty store in La Jolla, where the clothes are kind of matronly. It looked like something they wouldn't normally carry, and I went wild. But the price tag was over $450, and I thought no way I can have that. I kept thinking about it, and one day it wasn't in the window and I asked and they said it really didn't fit our store so they were going to send it back. So I called my fiancé and begged and groveled, and he got it for me.