We were lucky in Spenard

by Wanetta Ayers
(Anchorage, Alaska)

When the 1964 Alaska earthquake first hit, my mom was in the kitchen making sloppy Joe's for dinner.

The three of us were huddled around the television watching the start of Fireball XL5.

Events are a bit jumbled, but I remember running and being tossed around. The freezer nearly fell on my sister, but my dad caught it. The television fell over. Dinner slid off the stove.

I tried to run out the front door where the family car was rolling back and forth. My dad grabbed me by the collar and pulled me back inside.

The quake lasted a long time. And then it was quiet.

We were lucky in Spenard – our home was intact. Most of the streets were passable. We filled the bathtub with snow and boiled it for water. We lined up at the school for various shots. The volunteer poked through my skin and shot the vaccine right out the other side at me. The second time was better for her, not so much for me.

Over the course of the next month, my dad was gone a lot. He mustered out to Kulis ANG and flew many aid flights during that time. He brought home flight MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat), fixed the television with a soldering iron, and still had time to let me and Denise stand on his boots and “dance” with him.

I burned the palm of my hand during this time, and he sat and held me on his lap while my mom put a baking soda poultice on it.

On April 25, on a flight from Valdez to Anchorage, after dropping off Governor Egan and others, the ANG C-123 he was on crashed into Prince William Sound shortly after takeoff. Accounts are that the fuselage remained on the surface for a short time before sinking.

All four souls on-board perished.

A Note from Anchorage Memories


We're so sorry for your loss.

Thank you for sharing your 1964 Alaska earthquake story.


Great Alaskan Earthquake Survivor

A powerful story about a young teenage girl caught in the JC Penney building during the 1964 earthquake.

An amazing story of survival.

Take a look at Great Alaskan Earthquake Survivor and imagine.

Comments for We were lucky in Spenard

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

by: Cathy Heyworth Harris

I am so sorry for the loss of your Father.

My Father was the pilot of the second C-123, scheduled to fly Governor Egan out later that day. He watched the plane which had just dropped off Governor Egan, take off and crash.

Our Father spoke of your Father often and what a great airman he was and how he was missed.

He is always in our prayers. Cathy

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to 1964 Earthquake in Anchorage Alaska .