Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Santa Cruz Earthquake, which I lived right thru, about ten miles from the epicenter! (Wait, am I old enough to have adult memories from twenty years ago?!?)
That was a monumental day to have experienced so I wanted to share my memory of it, just for fun!
I was a student at Bethany Bible College in Scotts Valley, California on October 17th, 1989. I also had a little job down in town at the Book Bank which I loved! It was a small bookstore which had a little cafe in the back, where we served coffees, espressos, the best chai tea I've ever had, lasagne and amazing soups! My favorites were the potato leek and potato cheese soup, wow they were good! We also had scrumptious cakes, triple layer chocolate from - oh no! My twenty year memory is failing me, I can't remember the name of the famous bakery that provided our cakes! Well, anyway, there was a mint one too. Pamela, remember eating that slice of Mile High cake in the Miracle bathroom late one night as we talked about, what else, boys???
On the 17th, I had started work at 4:30 and headed straight for the cafe as it was always a busy time for us. There was a counter that people could sit at to order, then a space about wide enough to walk thru, then the counter against the wall. That's where we took orders and served from. Up on the wall, above the walkthru, was a refrigerator unit with our bottled drinks and assorted goodies. Kinda like those pie cases at a diner would be. Well, I never left that work space once in the first half hour I was there, making espressos, washing glasses (twist on those built in scrubbers, rinse in treated hot water, rinse in scalding hot water, no wonder I have an addiction to hand lotion to this day!), serving slices of delicious cake.
It must have been just 5:01 or 5:02 or so that a customer came in and ordered a flavored coffee. We kept the flavored coffee beans in glass jars lined on shelves going high up the wall, just around the corner of the counter. So I stepped away from my post to get the beans and grind them up for a fresh cuppa. The clock ticked over to 5:04 and that's when our 7.1 earthquake struck!
Dodging falling jars of coffee beans, I ran to the front of the store for the nearest doorframe. My most distinct memory? Seeing the light poles in the parking lot sway from side to side, must have been about 15 feet in either direction. To my mind, cement poles were not supposed to do that!
After the shaking stopped and we went back into the store to check out the damage, I saw something that also shook me up! The overhead refrigerator unit had fallen from the wall and crashed down, filling the spot where I had been standing until that blessed customer had ordered their speciality coffee! Whew! I was so thankful I was not standing there for that to come crashing down on my head!
Right next to our store was a Radio Shack and one of the employees was listening to the news on a battery radio. The most shocking moment of the whole earthquake was when he said "they've just reported that the Bay Bridge has fallen into the Bay!!!" Of course, we imagined the whole bridge just collapsing and not existing anymore! Although it was incredible that a portion of the bridge did collapse, sending cars crashing to the level below, I was still so thankful when I learned the whole bridge hadn't collapsed!
Bethany decided to close for a week so I headed home to Oakland. Except that Highway 17 over The Hill (the north-south route connecting Santa Cruz to the Bay Area thru the Santa Cruz mountains where the epicenter was located) was closed as well. I don't remember my exact route home but I know I went up Highway One along the coast and had to cut over thru the bay towns. It was a LONG drive!
There were remarkably few deaths in Santa Cruz, but one was a woman named Laura who worked at a coffee shop! Imagine my friends' fear when they heard that on the news in the days before cell phones and all our regular phone lines were down. Needless to say, we were all grateful that wasn't me!
Of course, there was a lot of damage throughout the Bay Area, terrible destruction in the Marina district in San Francisco and the collapse of the Nimitz freeway in Oakland, both over 40 miles away. The Battle of the Bay had started as the Oakland A's were playing the San Francisco Giants in the World Series at Candlestick Park in SF. So all eyes were already on the Bay Area when the earthquake hit.
Anyone who went thru the Loma Prieta earthquake care to share your memories? Or, anyone who's been in another earthquake for that matter, why not!