Loma Prieta Earthquake – 1989

Monday - 17 October 2011

I lived in Marin County, just north of San Francisco for most of the 1980’s. I don’t remember feeling many if any earthquakes until the October 17 1989 Loma Prieta quake.
At the time I was working at the Good Earth Natural Foods store in Fairfax on Bolinas Road, and doing housecleaning jobs all over Marin.

This particular day started out normally, I did my morning job and then went by the store (GE). While I was there I started getting this real ‘hinky feeling’, for no reason I could explain I called and cancelled my afternoon house cleaning job down in Sausalito (just north of the Golden Gate Bridge). Then I proceeded to buy large bottles of water, candles, matches, easy to prepare food stuff. I felt like I was in a daze, not quite all there. I drove down to the Post Office in Fairfax and ran into a couple friends, we both commented on a ‘strange day feeling’ and went about our business.

I drove to San Anselmo, where I lived at the time. I parked my 1968 VW bus in the driveway of the house where I lived, which wasn’t something I usually did. (The owner didn’t like it.) My room was the lower floor of a 2 story brick older home.

I remember setting the bags on the floor in the middle of the room and I sat down there too. This was not the ‘normal’ routine. Nothing about the day felt normal.
The next thing I remember was hearing a very loud ‘CRACK’ sound, my first thought was that something in the adjacent garage had been knocked over, but before I could get up the TV which was on a wimpy tv rack was on my back. I got that back in place and realized what was going on.
I opened the door to the driveway and watched as my bus bounced up and down, back to front – over and over again. Imagine what a rug looks like if you shake it out, the ripples in it.. the earth was rippling under my feet.

I looked up at Mt Baldy and the trees were doing hulus.. I had never seen anything like this before.

It seemed to go on for a very long time.
I went in and turned on the TV.. and got the news feed coming from the World Series at Candlestick Park in SF..
In a daze it became apparent this was a big quake.

Outside in my neighborhood people were screaming and running with babes in arms..where to I don’t know or understand. My landlord called and said, “Don’t let the old man next door turn off our gas or we won’t get it back for weeks.” I did stop him from turning the gas off. There was really little damage in San Anselmo, or Marin, a great shaking up but nothing like what was happening in the city, or really further south in the Santa Cruz area, where this quake’s epicenter was at.

I became glued to the tv watching all the horrors of pancaked houses, freeways, and bridges collapse. For days.

More than anything, I started to pay attention to this ‘feeling’ I had had that day. I call it my earthquake radar, and many times I have felt it before a quake hits, sometimes I get a ‘hinky’ feeling days in advance of something big. Mainly I need to get out of the way and pay attention to it.. it is right more times than not.

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2 thoughts on “Loma Prieta Earthquake – 1989

  1. Kym Kemp

    I was at UC Berkeley and completely oblivious. I was walking through campus when I stumbled and a big gust of wind blew leaves out of the trees. I walked to Bart and sat there for 15 minutes wondering why the train didn’t run when a message scampered over the screen explaining that a quake had hit. I obviously don’t have the “feeling.” Even when the quake hits, I’m unaware….

  2. bobbi Post author

    LOL Kym… good thing one of us has it! No really, I have a few other posts that tie into this one of the ‘quake-dar’. It was also the last thing, that prompted my move to Humboldt. And perhaps is partly the reason I am so into preparedness… writing a post for SoHumAwarness.org about that this week..


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