4.18.2008

Earthquake Memories

Robin writes of feeling the Illinois earthquake this morning while still in bed. I began to leave her a comment and found myself writing, well, almost a book. Then I had one of those brilliant light-bulb moments. "Hey, I have no new post this morning. Since I've already written a story here, why not post it on my own blog?"

I know, you're likely stunned with the news of my brilliance. Don't worry, it probably won't last long.

So then, without further adieu . . . my memories of an earthquake of almost 19 years ago (holy smokes - was it really that long?!?!)

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Ahh yes . . . memories of earthquakes while sleeping. In the Spring of 89 (yes, that's 1989 for those with lesser digits in their age than I), we had a 4 point something while living in south San Jose. Hubs & I had a waterbed at the time (remember waterbeds?) and it was kind of cool, cause it just made the bed do a gentle wave roll. No worries - I went back to sleep. Exciting first earthquake.

Flash forward six months - October 17, 1989 - 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake. HOLY COW! That one definitely rocked our world. Having lived in Colorado most of my life, I was quite unaccustomed to responding to the real deal. Fortunately, while standing in a quaking Taco Bell, my cousin did know the routine. "Get away from the window. Get under the table."

So we laid under the table and giggled and laughed and giggled some more. Cause that's what we always did together. She said it might have been the biggest or second biggest she'd been in. Turns out it was the former.

The sad news? No one would sell us any food. And we were seriously hungry after a hard day at work in Silicon Valley. But without power and having just experienced an enormous earthquake, the fast-food employees unanimously decided that no one should be fed. We tried other places and finally went to our college (who knows? we might still have classes) since foraging was futile.

I mean, AS IF? Couldn't the good folks at Taco Bell (who all ran out of the restaurant, btw, so they could get hit by something falling) just slap some meat and cheese into a tortilla and hand it over? Apparently not.

It was probably an hour or more until we even began to grasp the severity of what we had experienced. At school, we began overhearing conversations of "The Bay Bridge fell in." It really did. "The Golden Gate Bridge collapsed." It didn't. The pool and the fountain at school sloshed - for hours. We opted to sit in the middle of the quad where nothing could fall on us as we experienced aftershocks over and over again. One of those aftershocks sent all the folks sitting in front of the library scrambling for better seating. Something about enormous plate glass windows kind of freaked them out. None broke, but better to be safe than sorry, I always say.

Being pre-cell phone days, there were lines galore for the pay phones. Of course, not everyone had phone service at this point, so that made it challenging. I had no car, given that hubby picked me up after classes. So I just had to hang out and wait, hoping he'd show up eventually. My cousin lived in the opposite direction, so it really made no sense for her to take me home. He finally showed and we did eventually get home. It was a long and slow trip, though. Nothing like driving in the Bay Area during crazy mad traffic with no power, and thus, no traffic lights.

It was a wild thing to experience. Kind of surreal to live something that the rest of the nation was watching on tv.


2 comments:

Nekked Lizard Lady said...

I can remember visiting San Fransisco as a kid and I was petrified the entire time. When we lived in Vegas, we experienced 2 quakes, they were both "rolling" quakes, the earth just rolls up and then down. Thanks for visiting our blog. We're just a little west of ya, over the mountain a little. :)

carrie said...

wow, that's crazy! I liked the part where you guys giggled under the table. Classy and totally something I could do.

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