The Northridge earthquake was a massive quake that occurred on Jan. 17, 1994, at 4:31 a.m. (minutes from when I'm writing this article). That earthquake was the beginning of my insomnia and the beginning of my nightly intake of Ambien.
I had been working at Channel 9 news, so, in the back of my mind, I was prepared for "something." The week before the quake, the news had been reporting on many, many small quakes off the Santa Monica Bay. So I had my flashlight in my bed. I was sleeping in clothes getting ready to run. My shoes were right next to my bed. So when all that shaking started, I went right into "fireman mode." I climbed over furniture in my room to hit the wall light. The light wouldn't go on. I grabbed the phone to make a call. No signal. SHIT! Just then another shaker rolled through my third floor Toluca Lake apartment and I threw myself against a wall. I couldn't believe this was it! Was I watching the end of the world? When would the shaking stop?'
I heard some people in the hallway and joined them. I took my glasses, my keys, one flashlight and two coats. I put one coat on. In the hallway, one neighbor was knocking on each door to get people out of the building. One older woman was completely distraught. I handed her my extra coat and led her outside her apartment. I led the way down the stairs. I felt most confident to do this as I had been given the Channel 9 instructions all week. Look up, look for hanging wires, look down, make sure there is a step to step on, walk slowly. Speak confidently.
Once we were outside, our group joined another group. This was Toluca Lake, just across the street from Paty's restaurant and the ground still shook even after the worst was over. The 6.7 quake was indeed over, but there were literally thousands of aftershocks, and transformers were still popping all around us. It was surreal.
I was able to get my car out of the garage when a man opened the gate manually. I was off to go check on my two nephews, ages 1 and 6, who lived three miles away. They were with their father. Their mother had taken her first R&R mini-vacation and felt the quake in Las Vegas. She was out of her room the minute she felt the quake and got the last flight back into Burbank airport.
When I arrived at the house, my brother-in-law was sweeping up many, many pieces of their precious Depression glass collection. Pink, green, yellow pieces of glass that would never be the same. But that was inconsequential.
I walked straight back into the baby's room. He was standing in his crib, smiling. Babies, ya gotta love em! I picked him up and brought him into the dad's bed, where my other nephew already was. Between him and me, I can't remember how many Pepto Bismols we shared ... but it was a lot. Both of us have very sensitive stomachs.
After a while, my brother-in-law got tired and all four of us tried to lie down and get some sleep. But that was impossible because the 1-year-old was up, and you know what that means. The joy and happiness of a 1-year-old is very clear. "What's all the fuss about? Let's play!"
What were your experiences on that day?
Such an unnerving experience. I don't think I'll ever feel safe again. Hope you have something that can take your mind off scary things like these in our world.
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