My mother is a woman who believes in always being prepared – in fact, she once published a book about emergency preparedness that was quite a hit with the Mormon crowd. Part of this desire to be prepared may be because of her Mormon upbringing, as the Church teaches its members to be self-sufficient in case of hard times. Part may come from being the daughter of a woman who struggled to support her family through the depression in the 1930s. Or perhaps it was because she was a Girl Scout leader for some time. But regardless of the reason, my mother was a woman who was prepared for just about any emergency.
As I mentioned earlier, in my childhood home we had a secret room full of a year’s supply of food. We also were well stocked with first aid supplies and my mother was a first aid and CPR instructor. But even away from the house, my mom wanted to be sure she was ready for anything – and that is where the fanny pack came in.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters. If you haven’t, I highly recommend them – they are full of intrigue, romance, and adventure that begins when the heroine, (an “old-maid” at the age of 32), travels to Egypt in the late 1800s to start a career as an archeologist and Egyptologist. Amelia’s famous accoutrements include her trusty parasol…and her tool belt, where she carried “Pistol and knife, canteen, bottle of brandy, candle and matches in a waterproof box, notebook and pencil, needle and thread, compass, scissors, first-aid kit and a coil of stout cord (useful for tying up captured enemies).” (He Shall Thunder in the Sky, Chapter 2).
My mother’s fanny pack was rather like Amelia Peabody’s tool belt. It was stuffed full of first aid supplies, snacks, extra money, and other vital supplies that might be needed at any time. This fanny pack was worn whenever an excursion was planned – whether it was hiking in the wilderness or a trip to Disneyland. Over the years my mother added even more supplies to the fanny pack belt, including a sun visor, mini flashlight, pocketknife, and a mini tape recorder that hung from the belt and clanked together when she walked.
Once cell phones became commonplace, my mother did not wear her fanny pack nearly as often. I wonder if the fanny pack was kind of like a security blanket – something she carried “just in case” there was any trouble. I imagine that she did not want to be caught without having the resources she needed to take care of whatever situation might come up. It makes sense to me that once cell phones were common, she then had a link to summon help when needed, so she no longer needed to carry a plethora of supplies on her person. However, she must have liked the look and/or feel of that fanny pack, because to this day, her cell phone is worn in a belt holster like a tiny six-shooter – ready to be drawn and fired at the slightest sign of trouble.