I was on dispatch and a driver called me in a panic: "The Bay Bridge has collapsed, it's fallen! People are dying!"
I told him to calm down and turned on the CHP scanner, tuning it to Golden Gate.
Yes, the Bridge had damage, it was not collapsing, but people WERE dying. On the Nemitz, on the Cypress. All over.
I got home a little after 2 am and turned on the news which I stayed up to watch all night.
My cousin lived on the water front and lost her home. That odd white building the news showed falling into itself along the Marina was where she lived. She lost everything. She stayed at work, sleeping in the bank, her only possessions the skirt, blouse and stockings she wore that morning.
I spent the following week getting very little sleep, wondering how Chris was doing; how my grandparents were doing. No phones, no communication. Nothing. I knew better than to drive down there: this was my HOME, I was born in San Francisco, I love/loved that city and knew every corner like it was my bedroom. But I also know what it's like in The City when there is a disaster. There are things you do and things you do NOT do. I stayed home, went to work, and worried.
It was nearly a month before we (my mom and I) heard from the Bay Area family. They were fine but much reduced in spirit. It happens.
This is not the first quake I've seen or even lived through. This one showed the humanity that are so stupid they should be shot on sight. But it also showed those people, many from Oakland (a known Black, Getto, Gang city) come together and work for survival, not just of "their own kind" but of those folks on the Nemitz and Cypress. These people rose above their own circumstances and helped total strangers. Watching the video still brings tears to my eyes.
In 1983 I was in this one. Like I said, Loma was not the first. Actually my first was in 1954 or 1955. Quakes happen every year in fault country. I've been giggling over the "duck, cover, hold on" adverts running lately for Earthquake preparedness in schools. Yup. Did that (along with duck & cover for Atom Bombs... not kidding!)
Anyway, enough of walking down Memory Lane.
For those who remember or lived through Loma Prieta, it is not forgotten and surprisingly, the Humanity of people can and does show through in dire times. I wish Media would focus on that now and then instead of all the nasty stuff humanity does.