Childhood memory of Loma Prieta

I was only a child when the Loma Prieta quake struck at 5:04pm on October 17, 1989. My memories are faint, but I do remember where I was when it struck.

After getting picked up from school, mom and I made our daily visit to see grandma. We’d always sit together in the kitchen around grandma’s round oak table. She’d always have my afternoon snack ready for me, be it ice cream, oatmeal cookies, or potato chips. The best thing was my stash of little toys on the booth; grandma and I always played with them on the table.

When we arrived, she had some chips already waiting for me on a small napkin. We all sat around the oak table and watched Channel 3. I ate my chips and played with my toys while mom and grandma talked about the day. Five-o-clock rolled around and KCRA 3 news came on. The anchors were Stan Atkinson and Margret (Pelley) Larson; my favorite was Beth Ruyak.

We were watching when we noticed the KCRA set was moving back and forth. Suddenly, we felt a vibration under our feet. The lights above us were also vibrating. Grandma said it must be an earthquake, to which I instinctively got under the table. In school, it was drilled into our heads to get under the table during an earthquake. Mom told me I could come back out, but I kept looking at those lights. Fortunately, nothing happened.

After that, the news continued as normal. It wasn’t until later they discovered it was in the Bay Area and the quake’s impact on San Francisco.

I only came to learn about the quake years later as a late teen and older adult.

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