|The Cypress Viaduct after the earthquake.|
Don and I had just picked up residents from downtown. They had gone out on a pass, using their yellow or red "P," or privilege card. Having dropped the residents at the front door, Don opening it for them, I pulled the extended Econoline
into it's parking spot on 200 Edmonds Road, in Redwood City. The place is engulfed by Redwood trees.
Finished with the driver's log, I locked the van, walking towards the front door of Cordilleras Mental Health Facility. Then it happened. The parking lot asphalt rolled like waves. A woman waiting for a bus hung on to the pole marking the bus stop. She flew sideways like a banner blown by gusty breeze, the cars jostling side-to-side, their alarms going off.
The Administrator's large office, facing the front of the building, fronting the lawn area, buckled in and out, the plates of glass resembling mirrors in a carnival funhouse. I felt as if I stood on top of huge serpentine creature, the sidewalk undulated for seventeen seconds.
I heard the guard, Carl, a retired policeman in his sixties, screaming at the residents who sought shelter. He hadn't a clue how to respond during a time like this.
I entered the building, its lights dim, operating by back-up generators. All the residents huddled at the front desk of the second and third floors, where they had their living quarters. Their anxious faces looked to us for reassurance and information about what happened. It was the Loma Prieta Earthquake. The big one that made a portion of the Bay Bridge collapse, along with a stretch of the freeway, the Cypress St. Viaduct, in Oakland, that pancaked on top of the lower deck, killing 42 people.
Many that night and days later made mad rushes to local stores, getting water, batteries, for flashlights and stocked up canned food. Gas to many homes were turned off for days----to prevent fires from possible broken pipes. Never saw as much wild driving as I did that evening, on my way home from work. Cars got on the freeway using what were exits as entrances and entrances as exits. No one stopped the drivers.
The police were overwhelmed this night,many years ago. I was glad getting home, seeing my two sons and wife were safe.
1. For safety. Today was no different than any other, thank God.
2. For rest. My day was balanced. I am retiring as soon as I finish this post.
5. Discipline. Other than God, it has been the cause of much of my good fortune. "Fortune favors the brave," said Virgil. I think he would agree it also favors those who exercise discipline.
How About You?
For my Bay Area readers, what are your recollections on this earth-shattering day?