As part of our call for contributions: LA vs The Big One I thought I'd share my memories of the Northridge earthquake in 94'. If you have thoughts about LA and earthquakes - please contribute them to the call for contributions.
I was in the 6th grade. Five friends of mine were spending the night. And as 12 year olds tend to do, we were up late watching HBO and Showtime talking about the cute girls on the screen, although none of us were even finished with puberty.
My sister, three years old, also had two friends spending the night.
For those keeping track that makes for a total of nine kids that my parents had to deal with that night.
It would have been fine had the it been a day earlier. But that night, at about 4:31am (only thirty minutes after we actually decided to go to bed) Los Angeles was rocked by one huge earthquake.
My sister's friends feared it was their meddling with the Ouija board.
My house in West Los Angeles was torn apart. As all the kids got under the dinning room table my mother looked at the kitche and got a general sense of the damage. Plates and glase was broken everywhere. Our chimney came off and parts of the stucko ceiling had come down.
Luckily my parents had earthquake insurance and I can't recomend this enough for anyone who lives in Southern California. Earthquakes are just something we have to deal with and while insurance can feel like a suckers bet - when the time comes and it's needed, one is very glad to have it.
The lesson I learned was one of being calm in the eye of the storm. When the aftershocks seemed to subside my parents packed all the kids into the two cars and began making phone calls to all the worried parents. They didn't panick, they just got down to business. It is one thing to panick in the immediate rockiness of an earthquake but once the ride is over - a cool collected head is what benefits somebody the most.