by Becky Cowen-Cornelius
The JC Penny Building
The original… Home Alone
I had turned 11 years old a couple weeks prior to the earthquake in March 1964. My brother was 15.
We lived in a mobile home park on Muldoon road. It was Good Friday and we were enjoying the day off and watching Fireball XL5.
Our parents were on their way home from work.
I got up to go to my bedroom for something when I heard this VERY loud growling sound. I started to yell at my brother to ask him what he heck IS THAT… when all hell broke loose and I was thrown into the wall of my bedroom.
I ran down the hall being thrown from one side to the other ending up in the kitchen. Dishes were falling out of the cupboards, and there was a sharp twist and the fridge door came open.
Trying my best not to step on anything, while fighting to remain standing up, I glanced out the window and saw cars that were parked outside, moving around all over the place.
I will never forget the rolling motion of the ground. I looked to my right through a window we had from the kitchen to the living room and remember my brother trying to catch whatever he could in an attempt to try and stabilize things.
I was being slammed one way then the other, it was such a struggle just to keep standing up, and at one point I lost that fight and fell. I got up and ran to the door where our trailer joined the addition my dad had built on.
I was horrified to see the trailer separating repeatedly from the addition. I wasn’t about to jump through that and just tried to hang on.
The movement was so violent, never letting up the entire four and a half minutes, it just seemed to last forever.
I truly believed the world was coming to an end.
There were many strong aftershocks off and on which started the panic all over again. To this day when we have a earthquake I always say to myself, stop, please just stop.
The panic feeling is there instantly and always will be.
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