Read more journal entries in Andi’s Attic >>
Somebody asked me if–living in California and all–I’ve ever experienced an earthquake. Let’s think about that a minute. California. Earthquake. Hmm . . . That would be a “yes,” I have. *scary* The picture at the top shows what Aunt Rebecca’s house looked like after the earthquake that Mother, Kate, and I were caught in during June 1890. It was a terrible experience. The house leaned after that and Kate had to have a lot of damage fixed. If you want to read about what happened during that earthquake, it’s the story, “San Francisco Surprise,” in the new Stranger in the Glade: More Tales from Memory Creek Ranch book >> that recently came out.
Earthquakes are not just a “new California” happening. Check out this link and scroll down to see a list of the history of earthquakes in California >>
I have to confess that I don’t like earthquakes at all. I have felt a few little shakes off and on through the years, even out at the ranch! The chandelier swayed, the dishes rattled, and I dove under the table quick as a jackrabbit. I might have been eleven or twelve. I can’t remember. I do remember that Chad laughed his head off. He said that wasn’t anything. Before that, the year I turned ten, I was staying with Aunt Rebecca in San Francisco (because of a scarlet fever epidemic in the valley) and I experienced a “little” earthquake. They sure do rattle your nerves! So I felt I was getting pretty experienced with earthquakes.
I thought the earthquake in San Francisco when I was staying with Aunt Rebecca was my first earthquake. But of course Chad was quick to point out that it was definitely NOT my first earthquake. There was a really bad one back in 1872, March 26, to be exact, just before I turned four. (reader alert: REAL EVENT)
The center of that real-life earthquake was up in Lone Pine. Read about it here: Lone Pine Earthquake >> It was a little town about 80 miles east of our ranch, up in the Sierras. The whole town was flattened and people were killed. And everybody in California felt that thing–so Chad says. Except me. Well, maybe I felt it and then forgot about it. The trembling woke everybody up. Melinda says the whole bed was rattling and jumping around. She said it rolled like a ship at sea. I shiver just thinking about it, and I’m glad I can’t remember. Everything on our shelves–books, toys, games–crashed to the floor, so Melinda says.
She grabbed my hand and hauled me–screaming–to Mother and Father. Father caught me up and hugged me tight, then we all got out of there. I guess Father thought it was safer to be outside in the wide, open yard, where nothing could fall on us. The stairs were swaying and the hanging chandelier fell, just missing Mitch and breaking all over the floor.
By the time we got outside, the shaking had stopped. But my crying didn’t. I do remember that part. I wouldn’t let Father put me down the rest of the night. And a good thing too! Because something called “aftershocks” kept happening. It was cold outside, but we all huddled together until the worst of it was over. Then Father sent Justin inside to fetch some blankets.
For the next few weeks, everybody on the ranch spent the days cleaning up the mess. Our house had a lot of damage. It was stucco (adobe), and those kind of buildings fare worse than buildings like the barn, which are made of wood. Wooden buildings just “go with the flow” in an earthquake.
Note: Andi experienced yet another quake. In 1906, when she was 38, she was visiting San Francisco and was caught right in the middle of one of the worse earthquakes in California history. A contest winner wrote a winning story about that event. You can read it in this contest short-story collection, “A Blessing from Tragedy” >>
Here is the real scoop about the 1906 earthquake. San Francisco Earthquake >>