Loma Prieta Quake in '89

Brother Michael Meister '68

It was a normal October day close to 5 because we have Mass at 5:15. I was downstairs in Aquinas and came over to the Brothers’ residence before 5 because we have the liturgy in the living room. I sat down and began reading the San Francisco Chronicle when the room began to shake. I grew up in Northern California, so I knew I was experiencing an earthquake. I heard a big crash; the grandfather clock in the living room had fallen over. It was such a good shake that we canceled Mass. In the Chapel, the statue of Saint John the Baptist fell out of place and there were a few cracks in the bell tower. Luckily this was all before the Chapel was remodeled.

Sharon Walter '90, M.A. '07, Retired SMC Librarian

It was a totally normal workday. I was at the reference desk in the SMC library. At about 5:04, I was standing behind the desk and I felt a gradual rumble. I was hoping it was just a small earthquake, but the shaking increased. The lights above were swinging and started to crash to the floor. The glass windows that surrounded the building shattered. I ran under the desk. Upstairs, all of the books and stacks were falling and it sounded so thunderous I thought the building was going to cave in or implode. Then everyone in the building ran out the front doors. After this devastating experience, everyone who was in the library stayed together in shock wondering what to do next. The building was secured with caution tape. We came back to work the next day and started cleaning up.

Mike Mullane '92

I was working as a bullpen catcher—warming up pitchers—for the San Francisco Giants. It was an exciting time. The Giants hadn’t been to the World Series in many moons and were just coming off a two-game losing streak in Oakland. I got to the ballpark at 11; the game was starting early because it was televised. At about 4:45 I headed down the tunnel from the locker room to the bullpen, and I remember hearing some noise. I thought it was an Air Force flyover. Then I saw that the field was moving. When the earthquake was over, the crowd started cheering and getting fired up for the game, but then they heard about the collapse of the Cypress Structure (a two-tiered multi-lane freeway in Oakland that collapsed, killing 42 people) and fires in the Marina District. When the game was canceled, we evacuated the clubhouse and the stadium.

By Caitlin McClain '15

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