SoCS May 4, 2019
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “fall from the sky.” Write about anything that falls from the sky–real, imagined, or idiomatic. Have fun! – Linda G Hill
When was the last time something was falling from the sky in southern California, something I experienced firsthand?
On October 1, 1987, when my daughter Mercy was two years old. I took her to the babysitter before going to work. Two blocks before arriving at Michelle’s house, my car was rocking side to side.
“I must have a flat tire. Let me pull over to the curb.”
I looked outside of the window. A girl looked like eleven years old was standing outside of her home on the other side of the street. She might be on her way to school. She was crying. I rolled down the window and asked if she was okay. My car rocked side to side again. I then realized it must be an earthquake. So, I told her to go back home. I carefully drove to Michele’s house and dropped off Mercy and told her I would call her once I arrived at school. Before driving away, I noticed that the chimneys of all the houses on both sides of the street on that block were broken and the bricks were falling from the sky.
I got to Hillcrest School and pulled into the parking lot. Parents drove in, then took off after dropping off their kids. I was at awe that parents still brought their kids to school. Perhaps the school was safer than home. Or they had to go to work as much as I did.
Later, I found out that the earthquake happened in the Whittier Narrows at 7:42 a.m. PDT. The moderate 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in the town of Rosemead where I worked. It was the strongest in the Los Angeles area since the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and was felt as far as San Diego and San Luis Obispo, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Communication systems and local media were disconnected temporarily. The power outage left some early morning workers stranded in disabled elevators.
I signed-in at the front desk and realized that there were about fifty students got dropped off by the parents. We centralized the students on the playground in the open area away from trees and telephone poles. Some teachers and instructional aides supervised the students, had them sit and did quiet activities. Some teachers were at the gates with the student emergency cards, wait for parents to come picked up their kids. Teachers only released the students to the adults listed on the emergency cards. When the parents or adults came to the gates, the teachers checked their IDs, then a staff would go to the playground to bring the students to the gates, releasing them to the parents. We released the last student around 11:00 a.m.
After the parents came to pick up all the students, teachers and staff with children at other schools or childcare facilities could leave first. I called Michelle and let her know I could pick up Mercy. The remaining staff took care of the paperwork and wrapped up things before everyone went home.
The schools and district evaluated the situation in the following meetings and set up guidelines and policy for the future earthquake preparedness.