Michael W. Houck – Fort Richardson

I was 7 years old and living at the Fort Richardson Army base when the earthquake occurred. My father was an Air Force pilot and went skiing with some friends for the day at Mt. Aleska. My mother was in Colorado visiting her mother who had a stroke. My two younger sisters and I were at home with a baby sitter when the earthquake hit. Everything started shaking; dishes flew out of the kitchen cabinets and furniture was moving around the room. We had a large glass ball used to hold up fishing nets, displayed on our dining room table. It was shaking and moving towards the edge of the table. I went over and held it on the table to keep it from falling off. Our baby sitter held our china cabinet and kept it from falling over. It was the only china cabinet in the housing complex where we lived that did not fall over. By the time the earthquake ended all the furniture in our home was moved around the room or tipped over.

My dad said he was driving back from skiing and the road in front of him was waving like a flag and the telephone poles along the side of the road were whipping back and forth. He stopped the car until the earthquake stopped. When it was over he continued driving home and stopped at a liquor store along the way. He and his friends were the first ones in the store after the quake. The female clerk was in a mild state of shock and all the bottles of booze were broken on the floor. My dad said he had to wade through two inches of liquor to get to the beer coolers; he grabbed a six pack of canned beer and the clerk said he could have it.

We did not have telephone, water, and electric service for weeks. My mother had no way of knowing we were OK. The fire department came up the street with a water truck to deliver water. My dad cooked on the BBQ. I was not scared during the big earthquake but was frighten during the larger aftershocks. My mom made it home about a week after Easter; I had saved a big chocolate bunny that I got from the Easter Bunny, for her to see.

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