The cars in the parking lot jumped around. The day of the Nisqually earthquake, I took my elderly father to the Dick’s Drive-in on the foot of Queen Anne Hill near the Seattle Center. He met there with a small group of elders each morning at about 11 AM for coffee. We were sitting on hard chairs attached to small tables with the elders sharing stories when the room began to shake. A huge chandelier in the center of the two story room began to swing, and the cars reflected the ground movement by jumping toward the building and then away. Oh, no, an earthquake, I thought, but this is going longer than I want, and when will it stop? Should I try to get these elders under the tables to protect them if the building begins to cave in? But how would I get them back in their seats after it’s over? After a few seconds, I decided to just ride it out and hope for the best.
When the shaking stopped, we had collected ourselves, and the chandelier stopped swinging, I had an appointment in Ballard. Along the way, I saw no damage until I got to the Ballard Bridge where a few light standards had bent in two. My husband, who was working in West Seattle, drove immediately from there to Magnolia crossing the Viaduct and the Magnolia Bridge both ways, all before both structures were closed. At our home all he saw was a scattered stack of CDs and a cupboard door standing open.
We have a cabin on the ocean north of Ocean Shores, and friends were staying there at the time. They had just arrived and were unloading the car when it hit. The beds in the upstairs beat a tattoo on the floorboards as they grabbed their kids and headed for higher ground in case a tsunami was on the way.
Mother rode out the shaking in her recliner in their Queen Anne apartment. Her condo experienced a crack that opened up in the wall near the ceiling, but none of the other units had any damage.
By Gail Martini-Peterson