Archive for the ‘good friday earthquake’ Tag

Neighbors helping neighbors make Alaska strong – Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: Editorials   Leave a comment

Neighbors helping neighbors make Alaska strong – Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: Editorials.

Sometimes others say something better than we could say it ourselves.

Posted April 2, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

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Great Alaska Earthquake shook state 50 years ago – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News   Leave a comment

Great Alaska Earthquake shook state 50 years ago – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Alaska News.

There are events in our lives that happen early, but are etched in our memories. My first clear memory was moving into a house when I was three. I remember the boxes and the window seat and piano.

A couple of weeks later, President Kennedy was assassinated. When I was in high school, I told my mom that I thought I remembered it and she thought I was remembering what they had told me, until I added memories from that house.

Five months later, the world would again be poignant for me when, while crossing a parking lot in Fairbanks (nearly 400 miles from Anchorage), the cars started rocking on their springs. I remember the pinging sound of leaf springs as I clung to my dad’s legs. We didn’t have anywhere to go as the buildings around us swayed and groaned. I remember the smell of my dad — a sharp odor that I would later understand was fear — as we stood there for somewhere between three and five minutes.

When the shaking stopped, we continued to the cafe where my mom waitressed. The customers were in an uproar and the sign above the door was still swaying back and forth. Mom was cleaning up the coffee she’d spilled when the counter started moving. I remember the potato flakes all over the store room where the cans had fallen off the shelf.

Tsunami damage at Kodiak, Alaska following the 1964 Good Friday earthquake.We were almost 400 miles away from the epicenter of the Good Friday Earthquake, but it hit Fairbanks harder than most of our local quakes do. It devasted Anchorage of course, but Mom’s real concern was for my brother who was with his father down on the coast. My dad had served in the merchant marines, so he knew all about tsunamis and that was what actually did more damage than the quake. Fortunately, my brother and his father had stopped shy of the mountains, so were not in Valdez when the waves rolled in.

Memory is an interesting thing in small children. We tend to take it for granted that they don’t remember stuff, but if it’s a powerful enough stimuli, they do. The second most powerful recorded quake in history is definitely a stimulus.

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