Read more journal entries in Andi’s Attic >>

Andi’s Journal

March 1891

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 >>

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

24 thoughts on “Earthquake!

  1. Cool! So I live in Pennsylvania, and I guess earthquakes here are fairly rare, but I guess years ago when I was like 5 or 6, there was an earthquake. My mom was out in the garden and she felt it, but she couldn’t convince my dad (who was in his office) that it had been an earthquake until one of the neighbors called, asking if we’d felt it too. I don’t remember it, but it’s one of my mom’s favorite stories to tell : )

    Liked by 3 people

  2. That is a cool story Caitlyn. And Miss M, have you ever thought about making movies for these books….

    1.- Thick as thieves .
    2. – Heartbreak Trail.
    3. – The last ride.
    4. – Courageous love.
    5 – Yosemite at last
    6 – Stranger in the glade

    I think if you some day made moves to theses books, they would be great moves!!!! So pls think about this!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh that’s has been my dream! If there were movies for these books, I would be going out to visit you Mrs. M! (Not that I already want to visit you! Lol)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I like books rather than books made into movies… the movies add stuff and take stuff away from the books. 😦
    Well that is the movies that I have watched of books.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree! Movies are differant then the books! but it might still be cool to see movies!


  4. My mom’s from Guatemala. If any of y’all know geography, Guatemala (a part of Central America) is very earthquake-prone. Well once, while visiting my grandma in Guatemala, I experienced my first (and hopefully last) quake. It was super short and light, but it was still kinda scary.
    Poor Andi! Can’t she ever catch a break?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, cuz then there would be no interesting plots. First rule of fiction, Cari….. Create the most interesting character you can and then make the worst things happen! A recipe for an exciting fiction story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean, that was a rhetorical question…
        We all know Andi will NEVER catch a break while she keeps on being Andi


  5. I mean, that was a rhetorical question…
    We all know Andi will NEVER catch a break while she keeps on being Andi


  6. My family and I lived in Nepal as missionaries a couple of years ago (2016) and we experienced a few small quakes. And in 2020, here in Puerto Rico (where I’m from, and live in now πŸ™‚ ) we also felt a few. They can be kind of scary, but not so bad as the real thing (which I haven’t, and hope never to experience). And yes, It seems like Andi never has a break, from earthquakes to criminals, pony trouble to rattlesnakes. Poor girl! But I agree with you, Mrs. Marlow, it would be boring if those things didn’t happen. And btw, I just finished the last book in Milestones (loved it!) and it was hard to put down (like all Susan Marlow books❀️) Hope there will be more!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ooh nice! My mom has been there and she loves it. I would love to go some day. πŸ™‚

    Sorry, I accidentally sent it in Anonymous the 1st time


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