The Luck of the Irish and My Californian Earthquake

Today is St Patrick’s Day, as if you didn’t know.  You would think that since I am a quarter Irish thanks to my paternal grandmother, I would be leaping about all over the place to the strains of Riverdance (and you know how much I love to dance, and I will dance to anything, except Abba), but it never meant much to me growing up as we didn’t really celebrate it growing up here in England.

I remember that it was my mum and dad’s wedding anniversary (1956), but it wasn’t until I moved to California and my children started school over there that I really got into the spirit of things.

This meant corned beef and cabbage for supper and making Leprechaun traps for my daughter’s Kindergarten class.  We lived in hope that, when caught, the Leprechaun  would reveal the secrets to finding the pot of gold beneath the rainbow but I’m still waiting on that one.  Not so lucky there.

Thinking back to those days in California I was troubled to hear news this afternoon of an earthquake striking Los Angeles; thankfully there doesn’t seem to have been too much damage.  It does, of course, bring back my own earthquake memories.

My two biggest fears when I knew that we were emigrating to America, specifically to  Los Angeles, were of a) being shot; and b) falling into the centre of the earth during an earthquake. Too bad we weren’t moving to San Francisco as Clint Eastwood (aka Dirty Harry) would have protected me, I’m sure of it.

I had already experienced my first earthquake in 1981. I worked as a Paralegal for a law firm in downtown Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard on the seventh floor of a very tall, glass building.  This was my last day in that job, a job I loved.  Sadly my first husband had passed away a few months before and I had made the decision to move back ‘home’ to England. I was due to head out to the airport that afternoon.

The day held mixed emotions for me: I was sad at having to say goodbye to friends and work colleagues who had helped me through a difficult time, but I was relieved to be returning home to the bosom of my family, even if it meant having to fly, something I dreaded. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now, but needs must.

Then, out of nowhere, I felt the floor judder beneath my feet.  Then a hard shake followed by a deep rumble.  Somebody screamed and another yelled, ‘Earthquake!’ as I rushed to the window across from my desk only to watch, horrified, as skyscrapers all over downtown LA swayed from side-to-side like concrete trees in a strong wind.  I thought this was the ‘big one’ and surely we were all doomed.

A few hours later, I was never so glad to be sitting inside the air-conditioned cabin of a Boeing 747 in all my life: my earthquake terrors far outweighed any flying fears that day.

The next time I experienced an earthquake was a few years later while living on the central coast of California: specifically, October 17th, 1989.

My boys enjoying birthday cake for Nicky's first birthday one month after the San Francisco earthquake - 1989 (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

My boys enjoying birthday cake for Nicky’s first birthday one month after the San Francisco earthquake – 1989
(c) Sherri Matthews

Eldest Son, seven years old and home from his day at school, was watching Donald Duck (remember him?) on the TV while I prepared a meal.  Little brother, soon-to-be one year old Nicky, was sitting in his high chair, happily playing with his toy cars.

Standing at the sink peeling potatoes, I suddenly felt a most peculiar sensation, as if the floor had jolted out of place and I had to grab the counter to steady myself.

Then I noticed the water in our fish tank sloshing out and over the sides; when I saw Nicky rocking from left to right in his high chair, I knew what was happening even if he didn’t, as evidenced by his gleeful squeals of delight at this ‘fun game’.

At that moment, I was so thankful for the earthquake drills held at my son’s school so that despite my initial panic, I remembered that the right thing to do was to stand beneath a door jamb.

Grabbing Nicky out of his high chair and pulling Eldest Son to my side, there we stood, huddled together, while the house ‘rolled’ up and down to the deep rumbles of what sounded like a train roaring by.

I was so scared and tried not to show it for the boys, but I didn’t know if this was just a warning of a bigger one to come or if it was already a much bigger one but further away and we were feeling the tail-end of it.  When at last it ended I was more than relieved. The ‘big one’ I had been dreading had come and gone and we had survived!

Watching the news report that evening I was shocked to learn that we had indeed felt the tail-end of an earthquake that had registered 6.9 on the Richter scale which had hit ten miles north of Santa Cruz, some four hours north from us. The damage was extensive and 63 people lost their lives.  I will never forget the enduring and terrifying images of the bridge and freeway collapsing in San Francisco and of cars driving into the disappearing road right in front of them.

I remember thinking how much more terrifying it must have been for those who lived near the epicenter further north from us.

We later moved to Paso Robles, more inland and closer still to the San Andreas fault which runs right through it.  By that time I was in earthquake denial.  Thankfully nothing much happened and after living there for ten years, I returned to the UK with my children. A mere three months after our return, while watching the news one evening, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

A 6.5 earthquake had hit Paso Robles, causing the clock tower to sheer off the historical building which was just across from the park where my children had played for many years. I heard from a friend that the damage throughout the town was substantial.  Certainly it was surreal watching the BBC World News with The Terminator Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, standing right there by ‘our’ park in our hometown giving an interview.

As it turned out, in all the years I lived in California I didn’t get shot or get swallowed up into the bowels of the earth by a catastrophic earthquake.  What did I have to fear?  The neighbour from hell? A strained marriage? George Bush? Perhaps, but in the end, everything worked out: maybe it really did come down to the luck of the Irish after all.

Keep safe and happy St Patrick’s Day 🙂

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Childhood Memories, Family Life, My California and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to The Luck of the Irish and My Californian Earthquake

  1. Pat says:

    Yes, I heard about the earthquake in LA earlier and, like you, was glad to hear it wasn’t too bad. All the same, you never know and it can be terrifying. I’ve never been in an earthquake having lived on the east coast and now in the middle of the country. I’ve only been through hurricanes, fires and a tornado, They’ll all bring you to your knees. I’m glad you and your boys came through the ones your experienced.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Mmmmm – I’m smelling the corned beef and cabbage cooking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Pat, how lovely to see you again, I’ve missed you. I will get over to your post as soon as I can. Earthquakes are scary. I’ve been in a hurricane of sorts (we actually had one here in the UK in 1987 believe it or not) but that was a one-off and that was bad enough. I can’t even imagine being in a tornado, that must be truly terrifying.

      Oh I can smell it from here, I do miss that, and I bet yours is exceptionally delicious cooking away in your lovely kitchen! Enjoy and a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you too 🙂

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  2. Wow, how terrifying that must have been, standing at the kitchen sink with the floor swaying underneath your feet, Sherri. I love California, but the reason why I could never live there, you described perfectly. I would live in constant fear of the ‘big one.’
    Okay, stop the presses…did I miss a blog post? You won’t dance to Abba? What’s up with that, Sherri? Some of my greatest junior high school memories were filled with Abba playing in the background. Please explain. 🙂
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to my favorite little blonde Leprechaun! xoxoxo

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    • P.S. I loved the photo of your two boys, so cute!

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    • Sherri says:

      It was very scary Jill, and I hope not to ever experience that again. The fear subsided over the years but I was always on edge for the slightest movement. Once I thought it was the cat at the end of the bed causing the shaking but then realised that at that time we didn’t have one!!
      Ha Ha! I wondered if anyone would say anything about that! No, you didn’t miss a blog post. I do like Abba to a point but I’m so fed up with hearing Dancing Queen so much over the years that I just can’t bear it now. I know what you mean, our school discos were full of Abba too and I would have had so much fun dancing with you…But, you know me Jill, I’m a rock chick at heart…bring on Guns & Roses, ha!!
      Oh Jill, you’ve really got me laughing at that! I hope I bring you lots of good luck and a pot of gold!!! (although I prefer blessings!). From one blonde Leprechaun to another, I wish you a very Happy St Patrick’s Day 🙂 xoxoxoxox

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  3. Rachel says:

    Earthquakes are scary and it sounds as though you moved back to the UK just in time. I wouldn’t want to live in California. I’ve heard that a big one – and I mean a mag. 8 rather than a 6 – is due.

    During the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, I too tried to take refuge in a door frame but could not. People think that you can walk and move about as well as talk during a big earthquake but actually, this is not the case. You get thrown about, the noise is so loud that you can’t talk to anyone and you can forget about taking cover or moving away from that brick wall. The best way I can think to describe it is trying to walk along the deck of a ship in the middle of a big storm. The ship will throw you around making it very difficult to balance. And this is my experience of just mag 6. and mag. 7 earthquakes. A mag. 8 or 9 would be much much worse and last for a lot longer – several minutes as opposed to 40 seconds or so. I hope never to experience one of those.

    Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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    • Sherri says:

      A mag. 8 would be catastrophic. I was talking to my son (Eldest Son) this evening about it as he and his girlfriend are leaving on Wednesday for a two week holiday in California so I’m hoping that nothing happens while they are over there. One of those would be awful. I remember clinging on to my boys for dear life as the ground moved beneath us. It was the most surreal experience and we were so far away from the epicenter.
      Happy St Patrick’s Day to you too Rachel 🙂

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  4. Heyjude says:

    The luck of the Oirish indeed! I have only experienced two very minor earthquakes here in England. The first was in Shrewsbury (epicentre Dudley nr Birmingham) and we were in bed when woken by a strange noise and the bed rocking. No damage other than a painting falling off the wall. Second was in Surrey (epicentre somewhere near Northampton I think) when again the furniture rocked. Mindst you the bed / sofa used to vibrate every time a freight train went past at the bottom of the garden!! Scary things though, earthquakes. I wouldn’t want to live in an earthquake prone zone.

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    • Sherri says:

      Goodness, I’ve heard of the UK having minor earthquakes but didn’t realise that they could be felt! Still, that must have been quite scary. I would have thought it was a ghost probably!!! I’m glad we don’t live in an earthquake zone. I remember seeing the San Andreas fault from a high tower and that is very sobering indeed.
      May the luck of the Oirish be with you Jude 🙂 xx

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  5. lilkaraphael says:

    My, you have had your fair share of adventures! I vividly remember those devastating quakes and the search for survivors. On the other side of the country I am STILL nervous when parked on an overpass or waiting under one in traffic. I’m glad you survived California unscathed!

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, thinking about it I suppose there are a few adventures I could write about 😉 Thanks Lilka, me too, I am very thankful that my prayers were answered. The earthquake that hit Paso Robles made our house shake a lot according to my neighbour who kept in touch with us and the middle school that my boys attended was destroyed, but it was old anyway and now a nice, new school stands in its place, so a silver lining for the community in the end 🙂

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  6. Oh wow! I remember the earthquake in San Fran. Wasn’t the World Series or something shaken to a stop at that time? I cannot recall details. You were lucky. OMGosh. Lucky isn’t the word for it. Alone with two small ones. My teeth hurt to think of this.

    I believe there are faults or fissures or whatever all over the world. Where I worked on the 5th (and top floor) next to my boss’s corner office, we had a quake.The building had been constructed over a sandy bottom (or some such like). It swayed like a a rubber band. All I could think of was where my daughter and grandchild was, as well as her father. I thought that was the end but the winds of change were stalled and I live to tell the tale. Apparently we’ve had earthquakes before. My sister lives in British Columbia and I hear they’re due for a shaking up. As time goes on, because I have so much more invested in it, I worry about what will happen next.

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes Tess, that’s right, in fact I remember that the fatalities would have been much worse if it hadn’t been for the World Series as a lot of people had left work early before the quake hit to go home and watch it on TV, but they were shaken up at the Ballpark.
      Ha, teeth hurting! Oh what a great way to put it (love your descriptions sooo much!). It was terrifying. I was being flippant at the end (for writing purposes and the way I tend to write I suppose) but nothing to be treated lightly that’s for sure. I really did think at one point that we might not make it and our house would collapse on top of us…
      That’s just how I felt up on the 7th floor of that glass building in LA, it’s a horrible feeling and you have no control do you? That must have been very scary for you. Just so grateful to come out of it alive and unscathed and as you say, live to tell the tale!
      I can fully understand your concern for your family and your sister too. I guess that San Andreas travels right up the Pacific coast line.
      I was talking to Eldest Son last night, he and his girlfriend are due to fly out tomorrow to Las Vegas then to LA then to San Fran for two and a half weeks. I hope that this rattler is a minor one only and has let off some steam, literally…..

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  7. My mother was 100% Irish. I never ate corned beef and cabbage until I was an adult and a friend made it for me. My mother would let me wear her shamrock pin to school on St. Patrick’s Day and always reminded me to dress in green clothes. Today — holidays don’t have any meaning for me anymore. 😦

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    • Sherri says:

      Wow, how interesting Bev! We share some Irish blood! I’ve never been to Ireland despite my grandmother being Irish but then my grandfather (my dad’s parents) met her over in Ireland when she was a wee young thing of 17 and whisked her over to England where she stayed for ever more. I don’t even remember her having an Irish accent. We certainly never had any shamrocks, clover leaves or corned beef and cabbage! Did you ever go to Ireland? I know you’ve been to England 😉
      Aww, that’s sad Bev. We need to make our own holidays, it’s never too late :-)Big Hugs to you my friend 🙂

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  8. Wow, Sherri! You give “wearin’of the green” new meaning, a combination of abject fear and the earth-quaking rattles probably wanting to make you throw up. And to make you actually glad to be in a plane soon after, flying over the ocean…the earthquake had to be terrifying. We’re not Irish–all German and English and a touch of Pennsylvania Dutch–but our daughter married a red-headed Irish cop, so we had corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes…and cherry pie for dessert (to honor the Irish clans who came to America).
    I love the picture of your boys when they were little.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! It was a bit of a mix, I agree! Not your average take on St Patrick’s Day, not the post I had planned for today but when I heard about the earthquake I just had to tell this story.
      I was truly terrified up in the building in LA and couldn’t wait to get off the ground! Standing with my boys underneath the door jamb was worse, I really thought at one point our house was going to collapse on top of us and I kept waiting for an even bigger one to strike. We felt a few aftershocks for quite some time.
      Oooh, sounds delicious, wish I had been there for that very Irish meal! Did you say me a slither of cherry pie by any chance??
      You have a very interesting background in your family. We have some German too I think somewhere, as well as French and Spanish in the distance and then Spanish, Mexican and Greek on my children’s father’s side. So they are lovely little mutts 🙂
      Thanks Marylin, that is a photo I’m rather fond of myself… 🙂

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  9. I got scared just reading that! There’s nothing worse than being stuck in life or death natural events and feeling so powerless. I’m also from Irish stock – had a childhood filled with tales of fairies and Irish songs and ballads. You can’t beat them for beautiful words and sounds.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields
    and until we meet again,
    may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    😉 xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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    • Sherri says:

      Sorry to scare you! It was really terrifying both times (and all the ‘rattlers’ in between). Absolutely, you are so helpless and all you can do is cry, pray or wet yourself and hope to ride it out and come out the other side!
      So you have that old Irish blood too Jo? Wow, how cool is that?!! I do love fairies and yes, those Irish ballads are truly magical 🙂
      As for this beautiful Irish Prayer – bless you my lovely friend for sharing it here with me,it is one of my absolute favourites – but I suspect that you already knew that… 😉
      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Like

  10. Gosh you really have been through the mill. Brilliant post I felt every bit of the tension x so glad you survived to tell your marvellous tales.

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  11. restlessjo says:

    What a strange old world we live in, Sherri! I didn’t know that about the door jamb and it would have been the last place I’d head, as I would think the entire weight of the building would land on you from there. Forewarned is forearmed! I’ll bear it in mind in the Algarve 🙂 Unbelievably terrifying for you with 2 small boys!

    I do find the ‘Abba dance’ boring- stomp! stomp! wave your arms (I was going to say ‘wiggle your bum’ but Abba dancing isn’t even ‘that’ exciting) 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      ‘Tis a strange world indeed Jo. The thing is that even before I ever went to America, as a teenager I was absolutely terrified of two things: flying and earthquakes. I flew for the first time when I was 19. It was just as well that I didn’t know how many times I would be taking that long haul trip across the Atlantic over so many decades to come!!!
      The other thing they taught us about earthquakes is to drop and roll and find a table or desk to roll under with your head in your hands. But I’m with you, I would never have known about the door jamb either. I think it’s because they are sturdiest part of the house but don’t quote me on that! My instinct was to rush out into the street but of course that is the worse thing you can do, with flying glass and that sort of thing. I hope you don’t have any earthquakes in the Algarve!
      Ha Ha! Well, as I said to Jill, I got so sick of hearing ‘Dancing Queen’ that it put me off and I’m a rock chick at heart so that wouldn’t do it for me either 😉

      Like

  12. Robin says:

    I think being shot and earthquakes are what everyone fears about going to California. There have been earthquakes here, but they are so minuscule that nobody knows they happened until the news comes on. I’m glad that you and your children are safe!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Those were certainly my thoughts Robin! We have had a few here in the UK too but again, very minor. Glad for you the same and thanks, yes, glad we were safe too 🙂

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  13. Earthquakes are definitely one of Mother Nature’s more scary catastrophes. I experienced my first one a couple years ago and I would agree that it’s definitely hard to stay calm! I hope you had a lovely Saint Patricks Day yesterday 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, very scary indeed. Hope you don’t ever have to go through that again Heather! Just a normal day for us but hope you enjoyed a wonderful St Patrick’s Day 🙂

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  14. Super ending to your story, Sherri. You brought it all together in a way that the reader wouldn’t have suspected. A rather nice bit of writing, if I do say so.

    And I do.

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  15. I’ve never been in an earthquake. I live in the Midwest (Iowa) and I’d rather have a natural disaster like a tornado or a fire. They both destroy “things”. But I can hide in a cellar or run away from those.

    Even a hurricane can be avoided if you go far enough inland. Where do you go in an earthquake? I know, they say in a doorway, but that wouldn’t save you if the ground opened up and swallowed you or the house caved in!

    So glad you had the “Luck of the Irish” with you and your kids that day. I remember the pictures of the collapsed bridges with the cars stuck between the layers of concrete. I think of that sometimes when driving under the Interstate bridges that cross over one another. Horrifying!

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, that is the very frightening thing about earthquakes. If it were a really big one a doorway wouldn’t do much. I was always scared of being swallowed up by an earthquake. It was a very scary thing to go through. My eldest son remembers feeling the coffee table beneath him shaking and wondering what was going on. It must have been just awful for those people on those roads that day…

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  16. jennypellett says:

    Oh that darling picture of your boys! Gorgeous!
    I never knew that corned beef and cabbage were eaten to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – you learn something new all the time don’t you? 🙂
    It must have been really scary living with the threat of an earthquake – I can’t imagine what that is like although I’m with you on the flying – I hate it! But as you say, needs must. I take a good book and try and block out everything which I can almost do – except for the excruciating pain I experience in my ears on the descent.
    Anyway, hope you enjoyed St Paddy’s day – I seem to have arrived a bit late for the party!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks Jenny! I am rather partial to that particular photo myself 🙂
      Yes, in the States this is the traditional St Paddy’s day meal. I had no idea either until I moved there. It was really scary living with that kind of threat but as I said, after a while I was in major denial, willing it not to happen. It was so weird that as soon as we moved away there was quite a bad one right where we lived.
      Oh I suffer from that pain in my ears too when descending. It’s awful isn’t it? I try to block out things when flying but find it so hard. I end up staring at the sky-map for hours for some strange reason. It’s about the only thing I can do…that and asking for one or two stiff G&T’s 😉

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  17. So many memories packed in this post, Sherri. Of course many hit home. California. The central coast. LA. Eartquakes. Celebrating the American holidays through your children. Lots of emotions and experiences in common. Speaking of earthquakes, we have been fortunate. We arrived a few months after the 1989 SF earthquake and since then have only felt small little things.
    So nice for me to read about your life from back then. Even with the mixed emotions you went through.

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    • Sherri says:

      It’s so nice being able to share my Californian stories with you Evelyne as we certainly do have so much in common. It’s so interesting too because during the entire time I lived there I hadn’t yet discovered the beauties of your homeland. I didn’t know that going to Paris and rural France was in my future, and many years hence! You just never know do you where the journey of life with all its twists and turns is going to take you? I find it fascinating and I love being able to ‘talk’ to you about them and also to read your wonderful stories and evocative observations of family life from your unique perspective.
      PS I’m so glad that you haven’t had to contend with any horrible earthquakes and long may that remain for you and your family 🙂

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  18. Letizia says:

    I’ve never experienced an earthquake – it sounds quite frightening indeed!

    p.s. Leprechaun traps!

    Like

  19. How terrifying to be there with two small children when that earthquake struck. I’m so glad you were safe. There’s something to be said for “the luck of the Irish.” Hope you had a happy St Paddy’s Day. 🙂 xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha, yes, I think so! Thank you Sylvia, I was so relieved when it was over but I remember thinking for weeks afterwards that it might be a ‘warm-up’ to the really ‘big one’. Feeling those milder aftershocks was just as scary. Not pleasant and not recommended 🙂 xx

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  20. thirdhandart says:

    A beautiful photo of your sons Sherri! So glad that you and your family weren’t injured in the California earthquakes. Did you know that the New Madrid Fault Line runs through Missouri? Thankfully, I’ve never lived close enough to the fault line to be jostled like you were. It must have been terrifying. Hope you had a safe and happy St Patrick’s Day! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Theresa! I do love that particular photo very much 🙂
      No, I didn’t know about that particular fault line but I do know that there are many of them. So glad you don’t live close to it, phew. I couldn’t believe that of all the things I feared the most (including wasps!!) I had to end up living practically on a fault line for the best part of 20 years! It was terrifying and I wouldn’t want to repeat it ever again, and I hope that you never have to either.
      Hope you had a happy St. Patrick’s Day too 🙂

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  21. tieshka says:

    Sherri, I hope to survive all the earthquakes ‘rocking’ us around Los Angeles from time to time. I did experience the Northridge earthquake of 1994.. shook me right out of bed with a jolting 6.7 magnitude… our only damage was a few broken frames.. we were 25 miles away. The SF quake of 1989 that you experienced was a mess too.. My way of thinking is when it’s my time it’s my time…….. but hopefully it won’t be due to an earthquake… if it is to be please not on a collapsing freeway!! 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I thought of you Tieshka and glad you are ok. I remember the Northridge one too. My then brother-in-law lived near there, still does actually and he felt it the same as you. That must have been terrifying being rocked out of bed like that. I know just what you mean, I felt that way over there too. What can you do? But of course my hope and prayers are that it won’t happen like that and you and your family will be kept as safe as can be 🙂

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  22. parrillaturi says:

    Hi Sherri. I was working as a counselor for a company called Intep, in a very tall building, in 1981 when it hit. We were located on the 16th hundred block, on Wilshire Blvd. on the 16th floor. We looked out the windows, and could see the other buildings, swaying back and forth. Scary situation. We used to get our clients from workers comp attorneys. We mostly dealt with the para-legals. I wonder if we ever ran into each other! Hmm! Blessings.

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    • Sherri says:

      Johnny, how incredible is this? I worked on the 700th block on the 7th floor for a company called Clarke & Trevithick. I worked for Mr Clarke, he was a corporate lawyer, but I was friends with the paralegal who worked for the workman’s comp attorney. To think that we were there at the exact same time, watching those buildings swaying like that….and that we could well have ran into each other during the course of our working day…that’s a pretty amazing coincidence!! Blessings to you too my friend 🙂

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      • parrillaturi says:

        It is an amazing coincidence. I do remember visiting a law firm, close to Hoover, on the 700th block, in order to meet with the worker’s comp. atty. I knew most of these attys. I’m quite sure we ran into each other. There was a female atty. in the vicinity, who drove a Rolls Royce. She was also from England. We attended Cal Poly University in the early 70s. What a small world. Blessings.

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        • Sherri says:

          Well Johnny, get ready for more amazing coincidences – my son attended Cal Poly for 2 years from 2001 – 2003 before moving to the UK to finish his degree at University here. We lived only 10 miles from San Luis Obispo (my musician son Nicky was born there!) and we used to go into SLO all the time.
          I remember Hoover but I wish I could remember the name of the workman’s comp attorney. I’m not sure I remember the lady with the Rolls Royce though. But I think it’s looking more and more that we bumped into one another at one time! Incredible isn’t it?!
          Blessings to you too… 🙂

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  23. I’m glad you and your family are safe. We just left the Sonoma county for our Spring Break when days after, an Earthquake happened in California. Your story inspired me that we should not let our fears stop us from living in a place we can call home. My wife & I are praying that if thinks work out well, we’ll move back this Summer. There is something about San Francisco and all California that makes me feel like I’m at home. God bless my friend.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you IT! I read your wonderful post earlier and commented. I’m so glad that you weren’t harmed in any way and didn’t have to experience that earthquake. Oh how wonderful, I’m really touched that you are now following your dream to move back to CA. It’s where you feel at home and so that must be where your home is.! San Francisco is particularly beautiful, as is Sonoma. I will keep your dreams alive in my prayers. God bless you too my dear friend 🙂

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  24. Steven says:

    Leprechaun traps? Were they ever fruitful?

    I think I too would be scared of having a gun pointed at me if I moved to America. It’s crazy, to me, to think that anybody could have one in their handbag.

    I can’t imagine how scary the earthquake must have been! Especially with such young children around. We don’t tend to get many here in Norfolk. There have been a few in the UK in my time, I think there was one in Oxford not too long ago.

    I can remember a massive one in LA, I think, around 1993/4 time?

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Several days late… but I hope yer wearing green, or it’s PINCH PINCH PINCH! 😉

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    • Sherri says:

      I know, can you believe it? Took me ages to make them. The kids came home with these really intricate instructions which I was expected to follow!! We never did catch a single Leprechaun…

      It was scary JG I can tell you that. Yes, we have had a few here I think. I worry about all that fracking, so to speak 😉

      Yes, that would be the one in Northridge. My then brother-in-law lives near there and felt it. We didn’t though I’m glad to say.

      Ha Ha! Didn’t do anything. I don’t feel remotely Irish. Not long until April Fool’s Day though… 😉

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  25. Really enjoyed reading about these memories Sherri – I’ve never been in an earthquake and really can’t imagine how it would feel, but you brought it all to life through your writing.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Andrea. You wouldn’t want to be in an earthquake, they are very, very frightening indeed and I hope you never have to experience one and that I never get to be in one again.

      Like

  26. How terrifying. I don’t know why but I have been terrified of earthquakes all my life. As a four/five year old I had nightmares of the earth opening and I would either be left up on top whilst my family went into the hole left or vice versa. The hole would then fill with rubble. This was before television and all I can think is that in the year we lived in America I must have somehow been subjected to earthquake news. Glad you all survived it. Cheers Irene

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    • Sherri says:

      You and me both Irene, they are horrible. You wouldn’t believe it but my son and girlfriend were just in LA when that recent one hit and they felt it, just about to go in a restaurant at Disneyland. He said it was pretty scary but no damage was done. Still…
      Again, I had the same fears about being swallowed up like that. Oh how scary for you! I didn’t realise you lived in America, what year was that?
      Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  27. I’ve missed so many of your posts (which I enjoy so much) that it will take me a bit to catch up.
    As a native Californian I, of course, have rather a blase attitude about earthquakes except for the one in 1989. My husband, our young girls and myself had lived in San Francisco just a few years before it struck. Our friends who still lived there had some harrowing stories to tell. The Nimitz freeway in Oakland which collapsed, killing 63 people, was close by to where my grandparents had lived (I could see it from their front yard.) I had spent many happy times there during school and summer vacations.
    I happened to be walking the dogs in the sand dunes so I never felt it. The rest of my family filled me in on how terrifying it had been although located 250 miles north of us. All of us here in California feel we are ready for another Big One, shake, rattle and roll, what else can one do but keep calm and carry on!! 🙂 Can’t say just how much I look forward to your well written and very meaningful stories! ❤

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Diane,and now it is my turn to miss your lovely replies…aaaarggghh!! What happened, I have no idea…still, so glad you read and enjoyed this, I did think of you obviously!
      That was indeed a very frightening earthquake in San Francisco and I know that all of you in California live with the threat of earthquakes all the time. Hope not the big one though…ever… ;-(
      Thank you so much my friend for reading my stories, means so much to me… much love…xoxoxox

      Like

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