Wild and wooly earthquake stories --

... Stringers shake, rattle and roll -- well, some did, some didn't

By all the Stringers

Numerous Stringers tell their idea of the Great Earthquake of October, 2012, which was centered on Maine, some 150 miles north of Melrose. Some were scared to death, others didn't even feel it. Read on ....

"... when the front corner of the house shook ..."

We Stringers were asked to tell our "Earthquake Story" and I have one. I was sitting in my living room the other night when the right front corner of my house shook. I thought for sure that we were about to have a gas explosion and the whole house was about to blow up! When that didn't happen and I didn't smell gas, I thought that a car might have hit the big tree outside my house or that a car had jumped the curb and hit that corner. I was shocked when the news flashed across the bottom of the television, informing us that an earthquake had taken place up in Maine. Very, very scary to think that an earthquake that far away could shake a house in Melrose, Massachusetts. I tried to reach my son and daughter by telephone and I couldn't get through. I later found out that all the lines were tied up by concerned people all along the earthquake's route.

My son never felt even a tremor, but my daughter up in Wilmington (twelve miles north), thought that a plane had crashed or that the old Boston and Maine train had jumped the tracks or collided with another train, her house shook so much. Very, very scary.

I was at the library and bumped into an old friend who was in New Hampshire making a cup of coffee in her kitchen when the quake happened. She said that everything started to slide. The couch slid across the floor while cups, saucers and dishes went crashing. They thought that it was Seabrook (nuclear plant) exploding. Now that is REALLY scary. I can't imagine being in a country where this is a natural feeling or even in California during their earthquakes. Imagine a volcano erupting?

Betty Rossi

Who slammed the door??? ...

Tuesday night, another clinician and I were talking in the multipurpose room at Eliot Community Human Services in Everett, MA. I was seated at a table double-checking some paperwork and she was standing across the room cleaning up her supper dishes. When the quake occurred, items on the room’s metal shelves rattled and we felt the slightest rumble. I said, “Whoa!” as I looked at the puzzled expression on her face. She asked, “Did you feel that?” I answered “yes” and offered that it was either an earthquake or someone really slammed the door on the way out of the building.  

I wasn’t certain we had experienced an earthquake until seeing it later on the evening news. It was her first and the second time my "world" shook, as my wife and I experienced an earthquake when we lived in Cambridge in the mid 70s. It never gets old!
Jack Beckley

She did, he didn't ...

My wife Lorry and I were reading in the living room when the Maine earthquake rumbled down the coast. The fact is, I never felt a thing, but she sort of trembled, then asked if I felt anything strange. Nope. The irony is that the Rossi's, who live only eight blocks away, apparently had serious shaking of their home. The difference, I feel, was that they live in the valley and we live on top of one of several bedrock hills in Melrose.

Ironically, Jack and Amy Beckley, who live on the same hill, only four blocks away, certainly felt the shock.

Don Norris

No one felt anything ...                                      

My sisters and I were very surprised when the news flashed about the earthquake. None of us felt it. A couple of people at the Cefalo Apartments felt it and they are just down the street from us. Was it because we are on a small hill and they are not, do you suppose?

However, my sister, Margie, and I were asleep in Tokyo after a long flight from New York, when we were rudely awakened by the beds shaking and banging against the wall. I jumped up and looked out the window and there was nothing to be seen. The next morning someone mentioned the earthquake the night before, but no one seemed to take any notice -- I guess they are used to them over there.

Kay McCarte

Questioning priorities in Washington ...

I was rudely awakened at around 4:30AM when the Northridge, Cal. quake struck in January, 1994. I was about 50 miles from its epicenter and it had a magnitude of 6.7, lasting about 20 seconds. Since everything in the house shook, rattled and rolled I knew it probably wasn't the milkman. No discernable damage to my area, but they got it bad in the San Fernando Valley.

I had a further adventure as I was reading my morning newspaper in Kent, Washington on February, 2001 when a quake occurred in Nisqually, about 35 miles to the south. This one was a 6.8 and lasted 45 seconds. As it progressed I was comforted in the knowledge that my will was in order and that my loved ones would be provided for. My wife ran in from an adjoining room admonishing me for not having removed her clock, a family heirloom, down from the wall before it fell. I thought to myself - good God, woman, where are your priorities?

I had become somewhat accustomed to these disturbances over the years, having experienced several more severe when I was serving in Taiwan years before. They occurred just south of the island in the China Sea and they played the dickens with the flimsy local architecture.

Jerry Norton, in the state of Washington ...

... was that a wayward freight train, again?

I was sitting in my living room chair reading when the floor shook. Since the railroad runs behind my apartment building on Pleaant St, I just figured it was probably a commuter train or more likely a wayward freight train. Shortly thereafter my neighbor knocked on my door. She asked if I knew we had an earthquake. What? We don't get earthquakes. I turned on the TV and sure enough we got quaked. Well I guess it wasn't the railroad after all.

Florence Shea

... was it the furnace coming to grips with winter??? ...

Did I feel the earthquake in Holliston, MA? I am not sure. My son had arrived from Florida for a week's vacation. He was chilly so I put on the furnace for the first time since spring. While watching Emily Rooney on PBS, we heard an odd banging. We immediately attributed it to the furnace coming to grips with heating the house after such a long hiatus. But -- was it the earthquake?

I do remember an earthquake though. When I was five, my father rented a second floor apartment in Stoneham so I could start school. One day there was an earthquake. I do not not remember the shaking happening. But afterward the pictures on the walls were all very crooked. (I googled and found a 5.5 in New Hampshire, December, 1940.)

Ann Talbot

November 2, 2012

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