Well, we in the Midwest were certainly surprised out of a sound sleep this morning by our unusual earthquake, our family’s first ever. The shaking bed woke my husband and I, then we heard the windows of our old house rattling nonstop and a strange rumbling noise that seemed to emanate from upstairs–what in the world were those kids doing in the middle of the night! Our disoriented minds took awhile to figure out what was happening. Our youngest daughter jumped into our bed; our oldest we thought had slept through it, but the next morning she said she had been shaken awake and scared but thought we would think she was having a strange dream if she had run downstairs to tell us. Midmorning, there was a shorter and milder aftershock. The earthquakes are the talk of our normally quiet midwestern day and provided the school teachers with learning lessons.
My mother in her senior apartment complex slept through the main earthquake, but felt the aftershock. She remembered the stories her mother told of the big 1923 Tokyo Earthquake and its tremors that lasted three days, killing many thousands and leaving many more thousands homeless and heading for the countryside. That earthquake began around noontime, when many people had fires lit to cook their lunches. In the damage, the cooking fires spread through the wood and paper-walled houses and helped cause much of the Yokohama and Tokyo area to burn to the ground. City people fled to the countryside, many following the train tracks since so many of the roads were buckled and impassable. My grandmother told of how the safest places to be during an earthquake were thought to be in groves of bamboo because of the tightly intertwined net of roots holding the closely spaced trees together.
Unfortunately, so many times earth’s natural events bring a burden of memories. Fortunately for us, our 5.2 Richter Scale earthquake caused no damage, not even a teacup falling out of the cupboard. Fortunately, we are left with exciting memories.