Twenty years ago today I decided to leave work a bit early. Although I am not a sports fan, I thought it was pretty cool that the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants were in the so called World Series, and many people had already left to catch the game on the television. I decided to head home. I left the building, lit a cigarette, walked up the hill to the parking lot to my Terrible Car, a 1974 Country Squire station wagon (of course it had fake wood siding!). I got into the car, turned the key in the ignition and the car started shaking like crazy! I thought, "Man, I gotta get this thing tuned!" It started shaking harder, and I thought, "I some
Meanwhile, back at the house, the Lovely Mona and the girls and the many many pets were all fine. We were supposed to have rehearsal that night, so Norm and Steve came by. Norm checked to make sure there were no gas leaks and they all figured rehearsal was canceled for the evening. Travis had learned that the epicenter was on the other side of the hill and kept calling the house to see if I had come home and if I was all right. The Lovely Mona had power and water so she was able to make dinner for the girls and things were pretty much was passes for normal in our home.
I finally arrived at the bottom of the hill, in Saratoga. My grandparents lived in Saratoga so I decided to check on them. So dork in a volkswagon nearly ran me off the road just before their house. When I arrived at the house I noticed the vw was in their driveway. It turned out the driver was Grandpa's physical therapist and he was worried about Grandpa. Their block was the only one in town with power and lots of people were there. I went inside and Grandma was cooking and asked if I wanted some dinner. Well, one must be insane not to eat Grandma's cooking (she had been a cook at several restaurants) so I stayed. Their telephone was working so I could call the Lovely Mona and let her know what was going on. She wasn't worried as she had received a call from the mobile-phone guy.
I arrived home about an hour later. It had taken me over four hours to get home that night, but I was relieved that everyone was okay. The television was on and I saw the footage of the Cypress structure and the Bay Bridge. I had been driving on the Cypress structure just the week before and wondered what would happen during a quake. Now we all know: it collapsed!
Highway 17 was closed for a few days so I didn't have to work, but I was pretty jumpy and nervous with all the aftershocks. When it was announced that Highway 17 would be closed for a week, I drove back over the hill and stayed with my Aunt Sally and cousins Matt and Josh in Capitola for a week. Slowly but surely things started to return to normal and the ground stopped shaking and we all stopped diving under our desks or tables during the occasional aftershock. We never did move over the hill, as we figured all the places we had been looking at were probably sitting in the creek by now.
So, Dance Party Folks who were in the Bay Area twenty years ago, I invite you to share your memories of the Loma Prieta Quake in the comments.