Archive for February, 2009

I was living on Summit Road in Los Gatos with my grandmother. She and I had run into Scotts Valley to the store which used to be Zonotto’s.

I remember walking down the aisle with cheese on my right and diapers on my left. There was a huge supporting beam running through the middle of the isle and I remember watching things start to jiggle. I thought at first it was just the fridge from the cheese but my grandmother said “Whoops!” and we backed up against the supporting beam with diapers behind us.. If I looked to my right there was the milk.. what a mess! and to the left was the alcohol.. oh god the smell.. and it shook so hard, panels fell from the ceiling, and the huge industrial shelving was tipping over in some aisles.

As I glanced from under my grandmother’s arms at the floor I remember this bump moving down the aisle towards the front of the store as the windows shattered in front, just like you’d see on a cartoon when bugs bunny runs from a quake.. lol

Two aisles down a woman with her infant were screaming because one of the shelves had fallen on the cart the baby was in, brand new baby too, but not a scratch or bruise on her.. they were sooo lucky! And another aisle down a man had his leg trapped under a shelf.. finally when it seemed like it was never going to stop, and I could just barely still feel the rolling I finally let my emotions get to me and I screamed for help! They came running to help, and we all helped each other out of the store, probably 50 or more of us and the managers went back in to check through the store, and grab all the precooked food from the deli and they doled it out to us and we had a nice warm dinner.

Later on they let us know that the shelter down the street was opening up at the middle school and we all went there for the night. I’ll never forget that day. I was 10. It was the scariest day of my life. I pray I never have to go through that again. Or at least if I do, that both my children are by my side like my grandmother was for me.

By Corrine Chrisco


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I was 19 years old and I had just moved to Santa Cruz from New England in May of 1989. I had no idea of what even a small earthquake felt like. I was living in a house on River St. near downtown Santa Cruz with two of my closest friends. I worked at Casablanca Restaurant down by the boardwalk at the time and that day was my day off. My roommate Gabriel and his friend Darren, who worked in construction, had just gotten home from work and we were sitting on our front porch having a beer when the earthquake struck. I remember Darren reacting very quickly and he started running toward the street away from the house. I didn’t know what to think, I just followed him. The time that the earth was violently shaking seemed like forever. When I reached the sidewalk in front of my house, I turned to see the telephone poles on Soquel rocking back and forth at extreme arcs and the wires were whipping through the air. I felt nauseous and I thought to myself “please make this stop.”

Next to our house was a Chinese restaurant and by the time we all reached the parking lot the shaking had stopped. We were all facing toward downtown Santa Cruz looking across the river and a huge cloud of dust rose above the Pacific Garden Mall. Darren turned to us and said “I’m going down there!” and Gabe and I both agreed and we went with him. I remember seeing the smoke from the fire that broke out at the old train station and I remember when I got downtown, seeing Ford’s Department store collapsed. I even recall seeing the woman with her leg torn off being carried out of Fords that made the front page of the Sentinel. It didn’t really sink in how crazy that situation was, but I do remember sleeping on the Levee for the next several days because the aftershocks were intense and constant.

By Steven Lasch

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During the quake I lived in Walnut Creek. Most of my family lived in Santa Cruz. The quake hit when I was home alone. I think I was about 9 years old. It shook the whole house pretty hard. It is safe to say I was scared. When I went to call my mom at her work the phone was dead. I quickly surveyed the damage. It was minimal. Surface cracks on the drywall, pictures had fallen or where crooked. That was about it. When the phones were working again I called my dad in Santa Cruz. It sounded like a much different story. His house was intact, partially because he built it himself and it was built well. Many other homes had severe damage. Many chimneys collapsed, obviously downtown took a huge hit. I think the age of the buildings was the main contributor to their damage.

I now live less than 2 miles from the epicenter. I guess you can say I have accepted the risks of earthquakes. I do not fear them, but I do respect them.

By Geoffrey Reed

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Loma Prieta in Aromas

I had just moved to Aromas from Auburn California and I had just turned five years old. I was sitting in my back room playing with legos, facing the closet, when suddenly I get the unquestionable sense that aliens are landing on our roof. I looked up and everything in the closet fell forward and out like the house had been picked up on one side. I ran down the hallway as my mom told me to get under the front doorway, and as my twin brother sprung off the couch to the front door, the bookcase fell in his way, nearly crushing him. He squirmed under it and got to the door moments before the shaking stops. Six or seven years later, we were playing Nintendo when the house suddenly shook briefly again. He was off the bed and running for the door instantly, yet after the shaking had stopped. We all laughed.

By Denney Cardott

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