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25 YEARS AGO THIS AFTERNOON I WAS EXPERIENCING A DARNED BIG EARTHQUAKE!

October 17, 2014

I have several very distinct memories of the afternoon of October 17th, 1989 when the Loma Prieta Earthquake hit the San Francisco Bay Area.   6.9 on the Richter scale.  Twenty-five amazing years ago!  We were living 15-20 miles east of the epicenter in Saratoga, CA, about 50 miles south of San Francisco.

And we didn’t have digital cameras or iPhones then so my photos are buried somewhere.

Map of Loma Prieta Earthquake Oct 17, 1989

Our town of Saratoga in located about 1/8″ above the top point of the star, where our sensation of the tremor was Very Strong to Severe.  Quite an event.

 

We had a German exchange student living with us for what would be a year.  Stephan had arrived in mid-August and was very well set into the routine of our family and school.  He went out for the high school track team and was just finishing up track practice when the quake hit.  Oh my gosh, I was so concerned for him.  Against recommended practice I hopped in my car (things hadn’t settled down yet) and rushed over to the high school.  Stephan was comfortably walking around the gym towards me.  I asked how he was and he casually replied “I’m just fine.”  I said we’d just had a large earthquake, to which he replied, “Oh, really.  I have nothing to compare it to.”  He was wonderfully calm and nonplussed.  After about a day of 24 hour news coverage, he asked why it was just going on and on. He was ready to be back to normal.

We had a swimming pool in our backyard.  Looking out the kitchen window at the length of the pool, I watched the water go in a wave to the left, then to the right and then back to the left when nearly all of the water swooshed right out of the pool and onto the grassy area.  The pool was all but empty!

The large living room window, as well as the driveway, were practically liquid!  They waved and wiggled and then just settled right back down to the glass and cement they had been just seconds before.  You almost had to see it to believe it.

Finally, we had lovely (not) mirror tiles on one wall in our dining room, with glass shelves on that wall.  All of our wine glasses and other pretty things were there.  On one side of the door that led into to kitchen, everything on shelves 1 and 3 fell and crashed and broke.  On the other side of the doorway, everything on shelf 2 fell and broke.  Items on the other shelves didn’t move at all.  Go figure!

And that’s my walk down memory lane.  Those four items will forever be in my mind.

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