Archive for July, 2009

I remember it as if it were yesterday.

During Loma Prieta earthquake I was in Oakland by Grand Lake Theater, in a drug store (on a corner). I remember looking at cards in the store. And seeing the pole outside the store move and a little rumbling of the floor.

Several of the customers along with me looked out the window at the pole (as if were were looking for a big truck or bus to come down the street). Then I thought okay if it is a bus or a big truck what is making the pole move, and ground shake?

By that time the lights were out but i really didn’t register it because I still went to register to pay for what I was getting. Even the clerk was beginning to rings things up and then we laughed. And I said oh yeh the lights are out the register won’t be working.

By then we realized it was an earthquake. An aftershock came and 3 of us headed for the frame under the doorway.

When it stopped we went outside, and it was so quiet you heard only people scurrying around. In phone booths, in other storeways people talking, no radios no tv’s no music anywhere.

You could hear people walking. I looked up and thought it is 5:00pm the game is going and the bridge is packed.

I thought of a older lady I knew that lived not far from were I was near 25th Street in Oakland.

There was smoke comming from the bay bridge, could see anything where I was from. But as I was driving.There were no street lights people were being courteous. There was an terrible smell.

At some point I could see Loma Prieta collaped. I believe I drove down San Pablo to the elderly ladies home.

When I got there she was a little shaken up. Apologizing for the mess (she always keep her little duplex tidy.) The china cabinet was open, the living room was not in order, but not as bad as it could have been. She said that she was so glad that I had come. I stayed with her for a while, and helped her pick up.
As I headed to home to Richmond, I thought about my brother and sister that both worked in San Francisco.
I had cousins that were coming off the bridge. On the Oakland side. later found all to be fine. I have a cousin in SF my brother went there and my sister was on bart.

One of my cousins said that as they crossed the bridge they heard a lound noise and saw the dust from when the bridge broke, he said the bus just keep going. They just missed it within seconds.

When I got home to Richmond I was so glad to be there.
Day after day you would hear of people who had friends and family members that was on Bay Bridge and on the Loma Prieta span of the highway, by the projects.

I stayed glued to the TV, watching people calling out from the wreckage, people that know one could get to. And some that would be pulled out.

I was so glad to go to Bible Class that week (Church of Christ in Richmond.)

I remember one day after the initial quake I was going to oakland the fire was still smoldering. You could smell the blood, and death. Like nothing I ever seen or known before.

God is real, Jesus is too and the Holy Spirit is too.

It took me about a year or two to go over the bridge. I still don’t like to go over it.

Vernita Coats


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