Thursday, July 22, 2010

Writer's Workshop - Shake, Rattle & Roll!

No, this is not my car, nor is it my typical parking job!! This car belongs to some poor schmuck whose car was in an apartment parking garage/spot/space. This picture is one of many that I found on the Internet when I recently googled earthquakes.

I grew up in Southern California where earthquakes are almost as common as movie star sightings! The first quake that I recall experiencing was the San Fernando quake in 1971. I was a senior in high school and was sitting at my cabinet sewing machine. The windows rattled, the machine rattled, and then the whole cabinet fell over on to my lap. I pushed the machine back to the wall and quickly stepped away from it. No damage in my house. There were subsequent after shocks, some of which were good sized jolts.

There were various minor quakes and aftershocks during the next 10 years or so. The next quake I recall was the Palm Springs quake in 1986. It was very minor and I felt a gentle rolling. No damage anywhere in my house.

The Northridge quake in 1994 was felt strongly as it woke us up. It started with a sharp jolt and worked its way down to a rolling action. My kids's ages were 1, 3, 7 and 9. We jumped up, got them completely dressed and everyone took a spot on our bed. There was only one minor after shock within the next hour. No structural damage was done. My husband worked for a retail store at the time and their Northridge location was severely damaged. The building itself was damaged beyond repair and had to be rebuilt. There was broken glass from shelving all over the floor, as well as anything that had been on the walls.

In either the San Fernando or Northridge quakes, a freeway ramp broke and part of it fell to the ground below. Any cars that couldn't stop before the broken part, drove off and fell to the ground, as well. In the Northridge quake, there were apartment buildings that flattened like pancakes. There was loss of life and many were not able to retrieve their belongings because the buildings were not safe to enter.

Then we moved to St. Louis, and guess what? St. Louis sits on an earthquake fault line! In the last 15 years, I have only felt one minor rolling quake. Our family still goes through the "what do I do" motions. Rock, who was at college at the time, got up, dressed and was on his way to the stairs. He realized that everyone else had slept through it and were completely unaware. He went back to bed, but kept his clothes on.

The one thing great about California is that we all learned how to prepare for the possibility of no utilities or means of communication. Our cars had water, blankets, flashlights and batteries in case we were somewhere on the road. We kept all of our family photos in one place by the front door and a 30 gallon container of water somewhere in the house. The schools required (and hopefully, still do) that all students from preschool through high school brought in a gallon ziplock bag, with enough non-perishable food to last for two days. Every classroom had a large (trash) can to store the bags until the end of the school year when they were returned to the students.

We should all be so prepared for any natural disaster, like when the house shakes from Dad's temper tanrums because we ran out of beer, or something more important, from mom's temper tantrums when we run out of chocolate!

Thanks for the visit! This dissertation on Earthquakes was brought to you by Writer's Workshop and Mama Kat over at Mama's Losin' It. Click on the logo and get some great reads in!

Mama's Losin' It


Anonymous said...

Being in southern Canada I just went through my very first earthquake every about a month ago. To be honest I didn't even know it was an earthquake until I saw it on the news. That's a really great idea the California school board has. That type of preparedness should be everywhere, because you never know with mother nature. Great post

Java said...

Thanks for stopping by the Over 40 Bloggers I added your blog to the list!!

Thanks for joining the party! And no you are not too old! Your actually one of the youngins!!

Hope you get lots of followers from it! Including me!! Please follow me back if you haven’t done so already!!

Be sure to come by Friday for the Follow Friday 40 and Over Blog Hop!

Have a great day!!

Amber Page Writes said...

I'm a midwestern girl, born and raised, so when we feel the rare shake, I think it's kind of cool. I'm not sure I could deal with the real thing, though...

Jeanie said...

I have been through lots of tornados, but no earthquakes. Your advice to be prepared for any natural disaster is very good. This was very well written.

GutsyWriter said...

I also live in CA, but did not think of carrying supplies in my car. I shall bring water bottles from now on. Thanks.

Tracy F. said...

I am following you from Follow Friday 40 and Over. Hope you have a great Friday and weekend!


Mrs4444 said...

This was really interesting, Kristin! I have almost no frame of reference for earthquakes, though I was in one while visiting my sister in Alaska in 1980 or so. I remember thinking that it was SO cool, seeing the bookshelf shaking!haha

But wait a second...I thought you would be gathering UNDER the bed, not ON it!

Doreen McGettigan said...

I lived through what they called a tiny earthquake during a visit to California in the 80's; if that was little I am not interested in the big one!