Friday, April 05, 2013
(A-Z) The Big One?
E is for Earthquakes
April and October are typically earthquake months in the San Francisco Bay Area. April 18 was the great 1906 Earthquake and fire and Oct 17, 1989 was the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Growing up, in San Francisco, we not only had emergency drills for bombs but also duck and cover drills for earthquakes. Each child in the early 60's wore military-style dog tags with our blood type on it. They would have monthly drills and we would separate into our blood-type-group. I am type O neg. There was only 2 in the whole school -a boy and me.
On Oct 17, 1989 I had chili in the crock pot. It was a warm, muggy day and we were getting ready to watch the San Francisco Giants play in the World Series with our bay rivals, the Oakland A's. Many neighbors were home, some were still out on the highways and freeways and we had a couple of neighbors who were at the game. A little after 5pm, it hit. We had the TV on and it went on and off - I heard car alarms and then this loud rumble - At first I waited, to see if it would die down, but that loud rumble became a roar and I knew I had to take cover - I made my way to the doorway to stand - the boys (ages 5, 8 and 11) knew what to do as well as we all took our positions. Pictures were literally flying off the walls in the hall way, sideways. A bookcase fell and just missed our oldest son. I stood in the doorway, watching my huge picture window bow in and out - and my china cabinet was just about to fall before it finally stopped. I remember yelling,
"Noooooooo not my China Cabinet!"
I was troubled I said that.
We had a big mess but nothing major. Lost many pictures and wall clocks. We had a few cracks in some windows, and cracks in the wall. The backyard patio was cracked. The driveway was cracked and had been lifted up. We did later find the foundation was cracked but was deemed safe. Broke some old china pieces from my grandmother and mother. Our garage was a mess. The rafters in the garage fell and we had stuff all over. When we opened the garage door, half of it fell. My 5 year old son was standing, where he shouldn't of, and got winged, by the edge of the garage door when it swung out, out of control. (A week later when the children went back to school, they had picture day and he has what we call, his earthquake boo boo on his forehead) A few neighbors chimney's fell in the neighborhood.
Needless to say, we were in shock. Was this the big one? We had no power. We had a gas leak that scared me. The neighbor across the street yelled over at us, that the bridge had collapsed. I was in tears. We listened as the reports came in, how the city Marina was burning and that the Cypress Freeway in Oakland had collapsed - How the stadium just 20 minutes from us, were evacuating. I was so thankful my family was home together. All night long, we had aftershocks and we slept out in the living room with our clothes on.
It was a week or more, before we slept in our own beds and even then, we slept in our shoes for a few days longer. I was paranoid to take a shower and leave my kids alone. I didn't want them to go to school. After about 3 months of many good-sized aftershocks, many of us, started thinking about leaving California. Everyone, in our community looked tired, drained and very stressed out.
It was the biggest earthquake I have ever felt and lived through.
To this day, when I hear car alarms go off, I think of that time.
Now I live between 2 volcanoes.
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