Friday, April 4, 2008

New Storms and Old Shakes.

Big storms! Power out and trees down, our storm sirens were going off like crazy. I now have southern nerves. This used to not affect me much. Now when windows start popping out, and houses burn down, along with hail the size of ping pong balls, well I get scared. But God,..
My beautiful girl was out in this stinkin mess and it was my fault. I called her at work and told her to hurry home. The storm hit and I tried calling back to tell her to stay put, she didn't answer the phone. Whew I just prayed, because I knew she was driving in this. She came home visibly shaken and I felt like bawling. We had a little talk about what to do in bad weather. When you see trees down and the wind is trying to blow your car off the road you take cover. Our local news said there are 50 ambulance reports so far. I'm so grateful it wasn't my girl. The Delta is expected to flood and we are under severe weather watch until after 10pm. When I first came to Mississippi I wondered why the people talked about the weather all the time. Now I know. Nothing was scary to me at first if it wasn't an earthquake.

I was in the big earthquake in 1989 in Santa Cruz California. It was the scariest experience of my life. I was in Mervyn's shopping. The quake was so strong none of us could stand. A girl in front of me was panicking, I grabbed her and shielded her head with my arms, always the nurse. It was purely instinct. The clothes racks were falling and the ceiling was coming in. It was unbelievable.

Earthquakes are short, it lasted 15 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. My first thought was to check on my best friend Lucy. She was a live in nurse aide with an old lady that we just loved she was such a character. Her home was a very cool old wooden house right on the Aptos beach cliffs, and it wasn't very sound structurally. Alice used to say the walls would fall in if the termites quit holding hands. Lucy was scared to death but they were OK, the house was still standing.

I was driving our old Travelall it was a 4 wheel drive vehicle that got about 7 miles to the gallon. I figured I could get home but I wasn't sure how. I decided to try the back way up through the country. I figured the highway would be bumper to bumper. It was a good decision, and it was a one way trip. The after shocks and liquefaction loosened the mud and trees and the roads began to have mudslides. As I travelled home the roads became impassable behind me. Talk about Divine protection. When I got home my house was a total mess but it was standing. I was overwhelmed with the amount of broken glass under my feet. My two piece kitchen hutch had flown up and turned upside down, and then wedged into the refrigerator. The good thing about that was the food did not fly out of the refrigerator. It broke my heart to see the hutch. I had just received that pretty blue and white Danish china from my Grandma. I had the serving pieces displayed and most all of them were broken. A pretty set of glasses was so demolished there wasn't even any dust left. Odd things happened, I had a set of three pottery bowls, and the two smaller bowls were completely crushed inside the largest bowl. Everything on my window sill was broken except for one little Hummel figurine that belonged to my mother. Some things were partially broken and I threw them all away. Later I was sorry. I didn't know china could be repaired. A friend of mine makes beautiful stepping stones with broken china and I could have made a gorgeous patio. I filled half a garbage can with broken china. At the time we were in so much shock we just didn't think.

That first night was so traumatic. The after shocks happened every few minutes, until I thought I might really go crazy. All the power was off. In an earthquake power lines and gas lines can break, so you can't use matches. I didn't know if the water was safe to drink. I couldn't stand being in the house it shook so badly. I stayed in the Travelall all night by myself with a flashlight and a battery operated transistor radio. My husband was on the "other side of the hill," in San Jose. Communications were knocked out between each side of the mountain. His news said he could not get over the mountain due to mudslides. My news said Highway 9 was open but he didn't know that. Cell phones were actually not in existence yet and the phone service was intermittent and lines jammed. My Grandma had called me early and I told her I was OK but the house was a wreck. My husband called Grandma, she said,"I'm so sorry about the house." My husband thought this meant that our house was in the street. He never could get threw to me. Because I could hear my radio I knew he couldn't come home. It was a long sleepless night. Every time I dozed off someone drove by and their headlights would shine in my eyes and wake me up. I would wait until I couldn't stand it anymore to use the bathroom, and then run inside quickly go and get back out. More than once the toilet shook while I was on it.

The next day when my hubby got home we just bawled. He was so glad the house was still standing and that I was alright. My nerves were totally shot. I couldn't function. I'd pick up a broom and set it down. Pick up something broken and set it down. I finally went to bed. The aftershocks lasted for over a week. The most maddening thing was the news coverage. They kept showing the same scenes over and over mostly a collapsed overpass. They called it a San Francisco quake when it happened in the Santa Cruz mountains about 10 miles from my house. They hardly mentioned all the damage we had or the horrible aftershocks we went through. It made me angry.

My honey had an elderly aunt that lived around the corner from us. She was a sweet old lady that would show up at our door with some wonderful little southern dish she had whipped up like her terrific biscuit pudding. She had a house just jammed full with stuff and she made piles. When Daddy BB got home I sent him to check on her right away, she was in her garage inside her car completely terrified. He brought her home to our house and she laid on the floor in our hallway hanging on to her flashlight for dear life. I told Daddy BB we needed to get her out of town before she had a heart attack and we put her on a Greyhound bus to her daughter in Reno. She never came back. She let her kids pack her stuff and move her, the trauma was just too much.

When we first moved to the South, I'd be doing dishes and the thought would go threw my mind; they don't have earthquakes here. It was a huge relief. When you have actually gone through a big earthquake it stays in the back of your mind all the time. A little shake can scare you pretty bad. That earthquake leveled the Cooper House a really cool old building down town and a lot of other building were totally destroyed. After something like that the weather here didn't scare me. I kept saying." at least we have warnings." I have learned, tornado's are unpredictable as to where they are going to hit, and even if they don't happen the winds from one of these storms can tear it up!

Watching the news tonight and seeing all the devastation I am full of gratitude. I have power, my family is home and safe and we are all fine. Once again the Lord has kept His hand on us. My little trip down memory lane has reminded me again of His faithfulness to keep. He has been merciful and we are safe. I am polishing the monuments of his provision, we only lost things. Our home wasn't in the street. It was a long night but only one and then we were reunited. Lucy and Alice were fine, the termites didn't quit holding hands, and Alice's little rickety beach house on the cliff didn't blow into the ocean. I even had a place to go potty. It's all a matter of perspective isn't it? What survivors we are, because of the grace of God.

10 comments:

debbie said...

Ummmm ... are you hinting that I might want to pack a little extra hairspray and a sweater? Or is it more like a flashlight and dehydrated food? : ) (I'm not scared ... I'm waaaaay beyond that!)

Karen Deborah said...

nah, the weather is going to be great while your here.

Coffee Bean said...

I sure don't miss that Mississippi weather!

We were living in Seattle when the earthquake you wrote about hit. I remember it well because I was pregnant with daughter #2 and I was in the hospital having a CT Scan. My mother and mother-in-law were sitting together in the waiting room with daughter #1 and they were watching the news coverage. Everyone in the hospital was floored by the images. I had a complicated migraine that gave me stroke like symptoms.

Just a few short months later, and before daughter #2 was born, we moved to Pasadena and my husband worked in downtown L.A. We lived in CA for six years and got to experience several earthquakes, including the big Northridge one... and we were there for the riots.

Fun times, let me tell ya. I wasn't like you when we moved to MS. I was terrified of the bad weather from the get go and I actually settled down the longer we lived there. I remember well all the sleepless nights glued to the TV and following the doppler radar.

Karen Deborah said...

So how's the weather where you are? I didn't realize you spent time in Cali. I love seeing the photos of Kathy's place don't you?

Susiewearsthepants said...

As a fellow southerner I can relate. What awesome stories. Thanks for sharing!

Brenda said...

My goodness.We get storms in NE but that is pretty scary. I don't think I like the whole earthquake idea either! Thanks for visiting my blog! And thanks for your prayers. I will pray for safety for you and yours.

Brenda said...

How do I enter your contest btw?

Karen Deborah said...

Thanks for coming by Brends, posted an update for entering, it's easy.

Coffee Bean said...

Both of my parents lived in San Diego from the time they were six. My Dad's family was from Indianapolis and my Mom's from Seattle. My Dad was in the Army so I was born in Germany and lived in CA, WI, TX, WA, CA again, PA and then CA again, then WA again, then CA again, then MS and now CO. I went to jr. high and highschool near San Diego and my two youngest were born in Pasadena. I've lived more years in CA than anywhere else.

Kathy said...

A late comment here. Your story was amazing. I can't even imagine the terror. I was 'safe' in the midwest tornado alley during that Earthquake. But Jerry was here in California working with a crane company and they were busy 24 hours a day clearing up the collapsed freeways. So sad. But I am glad that you and yours were OK. And thanks for visiting my 'place'