This is ALWAYS one of those dates that sticks with me! 30 years ago today, on a holiday Monday, my world turned upside down (along with thousands of others) when at 4:31 AM the Northridge earthquake struck and we lost it all. Even after growing up in southern California and knowing about, as well as living through other major quakes, the memories of this one in particular are VERY vivid. I honestly thought a jet plane had crashed into the neighborhood from the violent way it all happened (I was literally thrown out of bed across the room and had bruises on the bottoms of my feet for a month), but I lived on a street near a DWP plant and what I thought I saw was actually the transformers on the pole tops all blowing one after another…

I realize now that we were very fortunate.

The major shock lasted 10–20 seconds and its peak ground acceleration of 1.82 g was the highest ever instrumentally recorded in an urban area in North America and registered a magnitude of 6.7. It was caused by dip slip on a thrust fault—the overriding movement of one crustal block up and over a second crustal block.

This is what was left of the parking garage I would have been parked in later that day had it not been a federal holiday for Martin Luther King day.

When it was all over, my feet were bruised so badly on the bottom I could barely stand, a freight train had gone through my hallway while a volcano had gone off in my house – at least that’s how it felt.  I was thrown from bed into a doorway, thank God.  When I was able to look into that same room all I saw was chaos and my bed was covered in shattered glass as well as several hundred pounds of books from the nearby bookcase. The new semester had just started, but there’d b about no college for quite some time as CSUN had sustained just as much damage.

When it did begin classes were held under trees, in tents and just about anywhere available. But, we also had nowhere to park as you can see and had to walk quite a ways from parking on side streets and such. They quickly converted some previous fields to parking lots, but it was still near impossible to get parking unless you got there at the crack of dawn.

This is the first piece of Princess House crystal I ever purchased and the ONLY piece I have left. Only God knows how it survived that day since NOTHING else did. In it are the shells from the Galveston, Texas Gulf Coast that I have collected with my cousin Jenn throughout my life. She and I neither one live there now, but do still have friends and family in the vicinity.

I still can’t believe it’s been 30 years today. Life has carried on and we no longer live in earthquake land, but since then we’ve been through other natural disasters like blizzards, tornadoes, major floods, hurricanes, SNOWMAGEDDON… all of this making me realize it doesn’t matter where you are there is always going to be something…

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