corruption

SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE 1989

BY LINDA SUTTER

25 YEARS AGO MY GIRLFRIEND OFFERED TO TAKE ME TO THE WORLD SERIES IN SAN FRANCISCO. I WAS THRILLED. AS WE DROVE ON I-80 WESTBOUND TO SAN FRAN, I LOOKED OUT THE WINDOW OF HER CAR AND SAID, “THIS FEELS LIKE EARTHQUAKE WEATHER”. I HAD NEVER BEEN IN AN EARTHQUAKE BUT THE WORDS FLOWED OUT OF MY MOUTH.

WE ARRIVED AT THE STADIUM, AND WALKED OUR WAY UP TO WHAT I CALL THE MILE HIGH SEATS. THE GAME HAD NOT STARTED YET. SUDDENLY THERE WAS A RUMBLING OF THE CROWD. I HEARD THE GENTLEMEN IN FRONT OF ME SAY WE WERE HAVING AN EARTHQUAKE. AT THAT MOMENT I FELT NOTHING BUT THEN THE SMALL SHAKING TURNED INTO MAJOR WAVING OF THE SEATS. MY FIRST INKLING WAS TO RUN. I COULD NOT RUN BECAUSE MY GIRLFRIEND WAS 50 YEARS OLD AND I HAD TO STAY WITH HER. 50 YEARS OLD IN 1989 WAS OLD TO ME. I HELD ONTO A BAR IN FRONT OF ME AND WAITED IT OUT. IT WAS ONE OF THE TIMES I THOUGHT I WOULD NOT MAKE IT.

FINALLY THE SHAKING STOPPED. WE GOT UP WALKED DOWNSTAIRS AND OUTSIDE OF THE STADIUM. THE MEDIA WAS CLOSE BY REPORTNG. I DID NOT REALIZE AT THAT POINT HOW BAD THE EARTHQUAKE WAS UNTIL I SAW A SMALL TELEVISION THAT SHOWED A GLIMPSE OF THE BRIDGE WE HAD CROSSED JUST TWO HOURS BEFORE. I PANICKED.

MY FRIEND WAS NOT SHAKEN UP AND WAS WONDERING WHEN THE GAME WAS GOING TO START. I TOLD ANGIE, “I AM NOT GOING BACK IN THERE.” AN ANNOUNCEMENT CAME OVER THE P.A. SOON AFTERWARD; THE GAME HAD BEEN CANCELLED. NOW WE HAD TO FIND ANOTHER WAY ACROSS THE BAY AND BACK TO WOODLAND, CALIFORNIA.

THE MARTINEZ BRIDGE WAS THE WAY ANGIE DROVE. THERE WAS PANDEMONIUM EVERYWHERE. TRAFFIC WAS CAR UPON CAR. FIRES EVERYWHERE. WE SAT ON TOP OF THE BRIDGE AND GOT HIT BY ANOTHER CAR FROM BEHIND. AT THAT POINT I STARTED TO PRAY. IT TOOK FOUR HOURS TO GET BACK FROM SAN FRANCISCO THAT NIGHT. BUT I WAS HAPPY TO BE ALIVE AND TELL THE STORY.

THE NEXT DAY AT WORK ANGIE ASKED IF I WANTED TO GO BACK TO THE SERIES. I SAID, “NO, I CAN’T”. SHE FOUND SOMEONE ELSE TO TAKE AND FOR ONE YEAR I NEVER RETURNED TO THE BEAUTIFUL CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO.

MY EXPERIENCE WAS MINOR COMPARED TO THOSE WE LOST FROM THE QUAKE. BUT IT IS TRULY A DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET.

One Response to SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE 1989

  1. Katherine Kelly Reply

    October 21, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I lived in San Jose during this earthquake. I have been around so many earthquakes they barely rattle me, but this one, we could not even stand up in our house the shaking was so bad. It was more like the whole house rocked from the floor up and we were tossed about like rag dolls on skates. And it seemed to go on forever. Nothing was damaged in our home (earthquake proofed) and it was exciting and exhilarating…until we saw on the news just how bad the bay area was hit and the collapse of the highway.

    Now, I live a block from the beach and have a subduction zone just 80 miles offshore, and when I feel an earthquake I don’t think about overpasses falling on my head, I wonder if the quake will produce a tsunami (a word I never used until moving here!). However, after living in this area for 11 years, when I go back to the bay area, not only am I overwhelmed by the growth and the hoards and the traffic and the pollution, I get an eery feeling when driving on an overpass, or under one, and pray that this won’t be the moment another earthquakes decides to shake, rattle and roll. I feel safer worrying about a tsunami!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.