Card of the Day: 1990 Score Lights Out: Candlestick

There are certain things I remember vividly in my life, and the earthquake of Oct. 17, 1989, in the San Francisco Bay Area is one of those events.

I lived it. I felt it. And this 1990 Score card serves as another reminder of the events.

It was one of the scariest days of my life. My mother had not yet gotten home from work, so it was just my sister (8), friend Aaron Lawhon, and I (9) in our first-floor apartment in Santa Clara, California (about 40 miles south of San Francisco) watching the Game Three of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics when the quake hit.

I still remember most details. I was in the kitchen pouring a glass of Pepsi (maybe Coke) when the cabinets started shaking, the television screen turned dark and the three of us in the house were wondering the hell was going. Within seconds we figured it out. We were having an earthquake, the largest the area had seen in decades.

My friend, sister and I dove for the dining table. Beneath it, we looked at each other wondering when would the shaking stop; were we in any direct danger; where was my mom?

When the first wave — which lasted 15 seconds, but felt like 15 minutes — stopped, Aaron tried to call his family. The phone was dead. Moments later the three of us left the apartment, and Aaron headed home. The next few moments were ones of great emotion. My sister and I were happy to be safe, but we were scared. We didn’t know if our parents were OK. And no sooner than we started to freak out, our mother arrived and calmed our nerves.

We spent the next hour at a nearby school — in open space, the safest place to be following a quake — wondering when, if, the power would be restored. And when it became apparent by nightfall that no such thing would happen any time soon, we headed back into the darkened apartment building, grabbed some clothes using a flashlight and headed to a family friend’s house where power had not been disrupted because of a generator.

The effects of that quake have left lasting impressions on me. In the following days, as power was restored, we began seeing the images of death and destruction on television, things that a 9-year-old should have to worry about. To this day whenever I step foot in San Francisco, ride the freeways that once were damaged and even destroyed by the Loma Prieta quake, or even see one of those old-school A’s-Giants split hats, I remember that day.

It was supposed to be a joyful one. Two local teams were in the World Series vying for the sport’s most coveted trophy. Instead it turned into a nightmare, one that has replayed in my mind for 19 years every time I look at a clock at see 5:04.

One Response to “Card of the Day: 1990 Score Lights Out: Candlestick”

  1. […] I Survived the ‘89 Earthquake Today marks the 20th anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, an event that much of the world remembers as being the reason for the delay of Game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. For me, it hits home because not only did this stop one of the most anticipated World Series of my lifetime, but it was an event that I lived through. I was 9 at the time and home with my younger sister and a friend when the 7.1 quake struck. When these things happen to you, you tend to remember every detail. I’ve re-written my account of the incident a few times over the years, and if you care to read the latest one, you can see it HERE. […]

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