06 March 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Disasters

I'm a California native, so I'm sure it's not hard to guess what disasters I experienced in my childhood. There is only one earthquake though that stays so vividly in my mind. It was the 1989 earthquake when the Nimitz bridge collapsed. I was probably about fifteen years old I'm thinking.

We had just finished up dinner. I was walking back from the kitchen into the dinning room to pick up some more dinner dishes when we began to feel the house shake. I remember we all stopped and looked at each other. Mom look up and calmly said "Whoa, that's a big one." Each of us stepped back into a doorway as we had been taught for years. We stood there for a moment and felt the shaking ease a bit. Then we all four went outside into the back yard, and as another aftershock began we watched as waves went the length of our fish pond and crashed on the outside of the pond. Then I looked up and watch the tall palm trees sway back in forth. Someone commented on the likelihood of them falling, but to our amazement they just swayed farther than I had ever seen them sway.

In those days we didn't have a TV as I have explained before because of the religion we were once a part of. We knew then the news would not be good, and our only way of getting the news immediately was by radio. We had lost electricity for a while in the house, so we all went out front to turn the radio on in the car. As we had feared the news was not great. The Nimitz Bridge in San Fransisco had collapsed during rush hour. I remember them still looking for survivors for days. Still finding miracles days later of people who had survived in their cars.

We lived in Modesto which was a couple hours away, but we certainly felt how strong the quake was. We did not see any damage in our area.

1 comment:

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

I lived in SoCal during that quake. A friend from the Bay Area called because they had no power. I described what was on tv to him. He didn't believe that the freeway collapsed. He thought I was describing it wrong.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and participating in this week's prompt. I'm glad to know your family was ok.