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.
Here are some links: