1989 earthquake: remembering

My uncle took me out for dinner tonight, and over Japanese food, we talked about the recent earthquake in the Bay Area this past week and the last big earthquake that hit us in 1989. I was just three, and somehow, I’m still able to remember it. I was at home with Ed, who was 10 then, and suddenly the entire house starts shaking wildly. I didn’t realize it was an earthquake, nor was I probably aware at the time what an “earthquake” actually was. When my dad used to come home from work in the evenings in those days, he’d always pick me up and place me on his shoulders, so it was like a fun, bumpy ride to me as he’d run through the house with me hanging on. When the shaking started, I naively thought it was just my dad shaking the house, so I ran to the window to see if he was down at the street moving the house. Ed yelled at me to get away from the windows as the shaking and rolling continued. He ran over, grabbed me, and pulled me underneath the dining room table and had me cover my head with my hands and crouch down.

It’s a vivid memory in my mind even 25 years later. It’s one of those very first memories I have of my brother being protective over me and trying to ensure my safety. I told this story to my uncle tonight and felt my stomach turning as the words came out of my mouth. I can share this memory now with him or a friend or even a stranger, but I’ll never be able to relive this memory with Ed ever again. It’s always the little things that make me feel the worst.

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