Gregory Robinson – Valdez

I was 18 months old when the earthquake happened so I have no memories of that day. We lived in Valdez at that time. My dad was working down at the dock. Mom at the hospital. My sister and brother and I were at home with the babysitter. I was in a highchair next to the refrigerator, Lynne and Richard were playing hide-n-seek hiding behind the couch in the living room when everything began to rumble. I’m told I took a beating from the refrigerator and the wall. Lynne and Richard took the same kind of beating from the couch. The babysitter knew she had to get us all outside as the house was coming apart. She said it was shaking so violently that she had trouble getting to each of us and then getting us all to the front door of the house. The front door stairs and small patio were pulling away from the house as a fissure had formed between the two. The babysitter had to toss each of us across then she jumped, but in doing so fell and broke a few ribs because of the violent shaking.

Down at the docks my dad, Richard Robinson, was operating a forklift. He and several men from town were helping unload the ships that were docked there. That area was destroyed by the earthquake and tsunamis that hit the area. He was one of the 32 people killed in Valdez. His body was never found. We believe he went down with the underwater landslide. Watch “Alaska: Thought the Earth Be Moved. The Alaskan earthquake” to see actual earthquake footage as it append in Valdez.

Mom was working at the hospital, the floors dropped and water and sewage started flooding the floors. She says in the confusion her first thought were to keep the bed sheets from getting dirty. Once she got her wits about her she knew she had to find us kids. Once we were located she headed for the docks but was met by grandpa saying not to go down there as Richard was gone.

Word soon got around that we needed to get out of town and to higher ground, which we did.

Later we were evacuated to Fairbanks. From there we went to Salt Lake City, Utah to be with family. (15 years later Lynne was also killed on Good Friday)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s