Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. I was eleven then, a sixth grader at Rolling Hills Middle School. I was at home that evening, unwillingly. I'd wanted to go to a friends house, I had planned to ride my bike. My mom made me stay home. She was making dinner. Fish sticks. I was sitting on the love seat reading Death Be Not Proud waiting for the third game of the World Series to start. It was the Bay Bridge Series, my A's were up two games.

The shaking began at 5:04pm. It only lasted 15 seconds, but even now, in my mind it feels more like 5 minutes.

If you've ever had something traumatic like that happen maybe you know what I mean when I say that it really was in slow motion. In those 15 seconds I jumped over the love seat, ran to the kitchen where my mother was we both held onto each other and the door frame we had taken shelter in. I clearly remember seeing the cupboard doors shaking open and closed, the dishes rattling on their shelves. I remember watching the light on the ceiling blink off and on before it went off for good. I remember my mom saying "this is the big one". And then it was silent, for just a moment before people started to move again, started to leave their apartments. But then the silence came again. There was no power, no radio, no t.v., no phone. There was nothing. Darkness came quickly that night and because we had no power and lived at the bottom of a three story building we left to go stay with friends in San Jose. I remember driving along Winchester Blvd. in complete dark. A very strange occurrence in a city that large. Even the Winchester Mystery House sat dark and empty. Eerie is the best way to describe that dark, and people, unsure what to do with themselves stood out on streets, talking to neighbors, watching the sky, waiting for aftershocks.

It was twenty years ago but it is one of my clearest memories. It's so clear I can see it run in my head as if I'm watching a movie.

Prior to 1989 earthquakes had always been fun. Now I only consider them fun if they are less than 4.0, and even then they make my heart race until I know it's not another big one.

I always mark today with some sort of remembrance. Sometimes just a quiet moment at 5:04pm, sometimes I read old articles and seek out photos, sometimes I make a list of all the things I need for an earthquake kit (yes we need them even in Oregon!). Today I thought I'd type a blog and put my memories in a semi permanent place. There are many more memories as the quake lasted for weeks in our lives. We didn't have power for six days and I missed school for a few as well. I never had a snow day in California, but I had a few Quake days. For days we wondered if our friends were safe, there was no way to know unless we drove to their houses. We were so wrapped up in all of it that I don't remember the fall of the Berlin Wall which occurred on November 9th 1989. For years I couldn't understand why I didn't remember any of that, it seemed like it would have been a rather significant thing to watch and witness on t.v. and in the classroom, and yet I had no recollection of any of it. Just a few years ago I finally looked up the dates.

Twenty years have passed. Seems a little unreal. Here's a few pictures...

The Bay Bridge, also the reason I no longer feel comfortable with bridges in general.

A street grate in Los Gatos, the next city over from my hometown and the same city my middle school was in.

Jose Canseco and fellow ballplayers on the field at Candlestick Park after the quake. Check out the outfit on Ms. Canseco!

By the way, my A's won the series, they sweep it in four games. It was awesome!

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