Here’s another memory

Thinking about the Baldwin Hills dam got me to thinking about another disaster that we all lived through. The February 9, 1971 Sylmar earthquake. Most, if not all of us, were at Orville Wright when it happened. It happened at 6:01 in the morning. What is it with earthquakes occurring in the morning? Mother Nature’s wakeup call! I remember laying in bed and hearing this unGodly roaring sound, and suddenly the whole house started shaking.  I remember the house shaking and next think I knew I was on the floor looking up and my dog was laying on the bed looking down at me. I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared! I don’t think any of us had been through an earthquake until then. I remember asking my grandmother what that was and she said it was an earthquake and a bad one. Is there such a thing as a good one????? I think we all ended up getting a couple of days off from school so they could check for damage. Our house didn’t have any damage and nothing broke. I heard something about most of Westchester being built on granite or some such thing and that’s why we didn’t have any damage. I remember seeing the damage on tv, such as the overpasses coming down, which they did again during the Northridge quake. Plus they were really worried about the Van Norman dam might let go. And let’s not forget about the “earthquake resistant” buildings at Olive View Hospital. What happened? They all collapsed! I think that one was a 6 and something on the Richter scale.  At that time it was the worst earthquake since the Long Beach earthquake of 1933. And we won’t even go into the Northridge quake!

Funny story. About 4 months after the kids and I got out here to New England, the apartment building we were in shook. Our roommates said it was the neighbor downstairs slamming her door. I said “Like hell, that was an earthquake”. Well, we turned on the news and guess what? I was right!!  It was like a 3 or less, so no biggie. Told our roommates I know my earthquakes! I jokingly say that Mother Nature wanted to remind me what we were leaving behind! Either that, or earthquakes followed us!


5 thoughts on “Here’s another memory

  1. I’m glad you gals started this blog – very cool!

    To add my 2-9-71 earthquake story: I was in 9th grade in February ’71 and my “boyfriend” at the time – his birthday was the 9th and he kept telling us he’d arrange it so we’d all get a school holiday. Well, as you have mentioned, the earthquake hit early and we did get (just that one day) off school! He felt pretty smug about that…

    Our group of pals/couples decided: a day off school – we gotta go to the beach! However, my mom specifically forbade me to go to the beach as she was worried about tsunamis.

    But, of course we went anyway…

    • I went to school, in fact I actually got a ride from Mr. Hanagan. Well of course I was the the “smartest Kid ” at school at least one day in my life…


      You should have had me as your boyfriend even back then Gladys 🙂

  2. I remember the 1971 quake I was in high school 11th grade when it hit my dog hid under the bed and my parakeet was going crazy. Iguess she knew what is happening speaking of the Northride guake I was still at National Car Rental i worked the day shift the power was out so I had my neighbor take me to work the damage was very severe and very scary

  3. I went to St Bernard High 1964 to 68. My mom taught at Westchester High for many yrs circa 1962 to 82. I was 12 yrs plus 11 mo when I started 9th Gr at SBHS. We lived in a very modest part of So LA, Western and Manchester, but I was thrilled to be able to go to SBHS. I took the test to qualify at age 12, in 8th Gr. I saw SBHS and said to myself “You mean I get to go to this beautiful, brick bldg??” I saw it as Camelot. From 1951 to 69 we lived in the biggest house on the block in So LA but it was still the Ghetto. We did not call it that at the time, ‘Ingle Watts” as in Inglewood/Watts. Later it was house w. pool Ladera Hts. We were the Bev Hiillbillies moving from So LA to Ladera with literally a wooden trailer like the Clampetts’ crappy truck!! In so LA you could tell the “rich” people (us) because we had TWO Chevys up on blocks in front of the house!! Ladera house, mom bought it for cash $50 K in 1969 can U believe that??

  4. hum , the name sounds familiar, cant place it though, i know a vicky farry and ocasionally log in to facebook but mostly i am now a hermit after my wife died 2 years ago, grew up in westchester and remember the quake also, grad year, didnt feel it, probably cause westchester is actually built on clay, ie the centinela adobe, pretty sure most of westchester is clay soil, absorbs most of the shock waves, anyway ,to all that grew up here! god bless

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