Saturday, October 17, 2009

Loma Prieta

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, a 7.0 Richter magnitude earthquake that rocked the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. I remember the day well. I was in the fifth grade and we were studying the Civil War. On October 17, 1989, I was in San Francisco with the fifth grade classes from my school on a field trip to visit Fort Point as part of our Civil War studies. Fortunately, we were on our way home with the earthquake struck at 5:04 pm. On the bus, it felt like all four tires had blown out, one after the other. We weren't sure what had happened, but the bus pulled over and we all got off so they could check the bus. When we got off, our teacher informed us there had been an earthquake. None of us realized had bad it was. My first clue about the intensity of the earthquake came when we passed a sound wall under construction on the way home. On the way up to San Francisco, I noticed the wall was almost finished. When we passed by it after the earthquake, I noticed it was just a pile of rubble. My next clue about how bad the earthquake was came when I got off the bus back at our school and I saw the relief on my mom's face when she saw me. She had no idea where we were when the earthquake hit and was afraid we were part of the damages they were showing on TV. She told me how worried she had been about me. But, I still didn't realize how bad the earthquake was. Then I got home and saw all of the news reports and images of the damage done. It was bad. Collapsed freeways, landslides, fires, etc., etc. Most of the damage happened in San Francisco and Santa Cruz and it was extensive. Fortunately, my neighborhood came through almost unscathed. But, it was quite the event to experience. I can't believe 20 years have gone by since that day.

Where were you when the earthquake hit?


Molly said...

I was in our playroom with my sister. At first I thought she was kicking her feet on the floor (since our house shakes a bit if you do that) but then it got worse and worse. We both huddled in the doorway while the house shook and I remember being quite scared and saying "I don't like this." The TV ended up falling right where we had been sitting on the floor. But that was practically all that fell in our house. Amazing. My mom was outside talking to our neighbor and she saw cars bouncing!

I can't believe it has been 20 years! I still don't feel like it was that long ago.

Anonymous said...

At a friends house playing barbies and then quickly in a doorway. Arthur and I were just discussing where we were that day. My whole street/court met up and hung out while the adults checked stuff out. A friend of my bro's approached my dad and said, "I think your garage got hit pretty bad. It's a mess in there." My dad went to was like that BEFORE the earthquake!!!

melissa ( : said...

I was driving down Benton with my mom. We were on our way to drop Mark off at work. My mom had been experiencing some pretty bad headaches, and so when the earthquake hit, she pulled over, thinking she was getting a migraine. Then we saw the street lights shaking up and down so hard, I thought they were going to break off! We headed home, luckily avoiding all the traffic on Lawrence, to see the damage... I can't remember everything that broke. All I remember is that my bedroom was a disaster before the quake... so you couldn't even tell there had been an earthquake in my room. It looked the same!

But boy - that was a scary time.

The best part of that day was getting the next day off school!

I'm sure glad your bus was okay!

Cara said...

I wasn't alive.

Jeff and Amy said...

I was at home on the phone and when the earthquake hit the phone got disconnected. I ran to the doorway. After it was over I checked my room and the big dresser mirror had flipped over and broke. Good thing I wasn't in there. Weird to think it's been 20 years - makes me feel kinda old. Growing up in California with all the earthquakes is why I will never go to bed fully clothed (with pj's of course) - you never know when one will hit and you'll need to run outside or somehting.

Andrea said...

Hm . . . I was mostly likely at home in Utah. I've never felt an earthquake. Part of me would like to know how it feels, but I'd be completely satisfied with life if I never felt one. Too much destruction for my taste.

Sharon said...


I was at home listening to Mom blubber about your absence. Me and Matt knew you were just fine. We all survived, what were the odds that Baby Jenni got hurt?

Berrett's said...

oye! I thought about that quake all day Saturday...and i told I can't believe it's been 10 yrs already since it happened...then i recalculated and said OH my it's been 20 YEARS...boy i'm getting old! I was at my house in the kitchen when it hit...we only had a few things in the china cabinet break but i slept on a water bed and was up everytime it moved, not sure which was a real aftershock. Silly i know. :)