This is the first of my Monday’s Memories series. This series will be posted on the 4th Monday of the month. These posts will be of my memories from my lifetime and will be a way of me getting the information written down and on the internet for other family members and blog subscribers to read.
This first memory is my memory of the 1971 Earthquake, also known as the San Fernando Earthquake, that rattled Southern California on February 9, 1971. It is one of my earliest memories and occurred when both of my parents were still together.
Here are the facts:
Date: February 9, 1971
Duration: 12 seconds
Magnitude: 6.5 or 6.7
This earthquake hit early in the morning and my father told me that he was right in the middle of shaving and getting ready for work when it started. I remembered my dad waking me, picking me up and standing me in one of the 7 doorways that led into our hallway. This hallway had doors connecting to all 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, the living room, a linen closet and a small storage room. My dad put me down in the doorway that led to the living room and told me to hold on to the door jam. At first, I was confused, I had been abruptly woken to chaos. My mom was yelling for my brother to wake up and I can hear the urgency in my dad’s voice. My dad then went to get my two sisters up and they stood in their bedroom doorway. After my mom’s yelling, my brother got himself up and stood in the doorway to his bedroom and my mother got my younger sister, she was only 3 at the time, and was in the doorway to her and my dad’s bedroom. After my dad was able to get my sisters up and they were standing in the doorway, he came to my side, and stood in the doorway with me. I remember holding on to the door jam with my right hand and my left hand was hugging my dad’s knee, I was only 5 years old. During the time everyone was getting into the doorways, there was shaking. I remembered it started as a slow rolling motion and by the time we were all in the hallway, the real shaking began. My dad said to hold on and my sisters were crying while my Mom was trying to comfort them from across the hallway.
We used to have a toy that we called knicker-knockers. It was two glass balls connected to each other by about 6 inches of rope, it was the 70’s and was the toy of the time. Someone had placed this toy on the doorknob of the small storage room and during the heaviest shaking, the two glass balls were moving up and down fast and were touching each other at the top and again at the bottom. This frightened me because I was thinking it was going to break apart. I remember turning around and looking behind me into the living room and watching the windows, which were floor to ceiling, move with the shaking. I remember asking my dad, “Daddy, when is it going to stop shaking?” I was scared and hung on to his knee. Later when I was older and remembering this event, my dad said that I was holding on to his knee pretty tight and possibly cutting of circulation. There was a lot of damage and deaths due to this earthquake but for me and my family, we survived it.
What do you remember from the 1971 San Fernando earthquake? Let me know in the comments below.