I was only 3 when this earthquake happened. I have no memory of it. But I remember watching old footage of it as a kid later on. My parents had recorded the news broadcast with their VCR. I was fortunate enough to be living in a part of the East Bay that didn’t suffer major damage from this quake. But this earthquake still shakes me up every time I think about it.
Even though I don’t remember any of it and wasn’t affected severely by it, watching old footage of the quake still sends chills down my spine. Earlier this week I was on YouTube just watching some of the videos they had on and I was in tears. It’s still frightening to see all of the damage and lost lives.
I’ve grown up and lived in California for pretty much my entire life. Earthquakes are normal to me. I’ve withstood minor ones over the years and have been fortunate to never have experienced anything like what we had in 1989.
This is what I have to be thinking of every so often as a California resident. Earthquakes are unpredictable. We can prepare for it, but we never know when it’s going to happen. I believe that right now we have prepared as well as we can for another one. And I think maybe what happened in 1989 helped us prepare for it.
The Bay Area was lucky that the World Series that year was between the Giants and A’s. So many people either went home or the park early to watch the game or stayed late to catch the game somewhere near work. Had this been a normal Tuesday during rush hour, the traffic on the Bay Bridge and the Cypress freeway would have been packed and the casualties most certainly would have been higher — at least in the hundreds.
What still warms my heart is seeing the old footage of every citizen in the Bay helping a lending hand. The communities all got together and did whatever the could in the aftermath. This was just the thing to remind us that people are good and we are there to help one another.
It’s been 25 years and I still wonder what it must have been like to be in the middle of it all. I was too young and all I have are the videos on YouTube and the stories people tell me. And those stories I know I will never forget.