Every generation has their historically significant “Where were you when it happened?” moments. Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? Where were you when the space shuttle Challenger blew up? Where were you on 9/11?
The list could, of course, go on and on and on and on. So let me prompt just one additional flashback for those who are, let’s say, 60ish or better…
Where were you 51 years ago today, in 1964, when “The Great Alaska Earthquake,” also known as “The Good Friday Earthquake” rocked the greater Seattle area?
I don’t have a clue where I was that evening—I was 9, and in the fourth grade— But I DO remember where I was a year and a month later, when the 1965 Olympia Earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.7 hit the Puget Sound region.
I was waiting in line on the playground for Mr. Rupp, my fifth grade teacher, to come unlock the classroom door so we could go inside.
I’d had nearly perfect attendance that year, but I’d been home sick the day before. As I stood there, shivering on a chilly April morning, I suddenly became quite nauseated. I thought maybe I’d come back to school too soon. My stomach threatened to deposit my breakfast right then and there—an embarrassment I’d probably never live down!
The ground rose and fell under my feet, and out on the ball field, it looked like the earth rippled in waves. Mr. Beauchamp, our school librarian, dashed out of the office in a semi-crouched position and looked up at the television antenna on top of the building, which was swaying like the wheat in the amber fields of grain.
“We’re having an earthquake!” he yelled.
Decades later, when I taught about fault lines and “The Ring of Fire” in my own elementary classroom, I was able to relate my own first-hand account, as my mother had shared with me about another quake with an Olympia epicenter, which happened the year she graduated from high school—1949.
Like I said, each generation has their moments in history, to share and pass on, and sometimes, perhaps even embellish. Which reminds me—where were you when you heard “The Eagle has Landed?”