Theresa McLean – Elmendorf

I too was in Alaska in 1964. We lived on base at Elmendorf, across from Aurora Elementary. We had just finished supper (we had fried eggs, fried bacon, grits). Normally my sisters would have been sitting on high chairs in front of the china cabinet for supper, but this night we had eaten early and Mom would feed them later. The ground tumbled and things began falling. Dad yelled for everyone to get outside. Dad and I ran to the playpen to get my sisters. As we passed the china cabinet, it turned over spilling broken china everywhere. When the shaking stopped, everything was turned over in our apartment. Bacon grease was all over the floor mixed with glass and other articles of food. There was no water or electricity and then all the men were called back to work. All the women in the complex gathered at our house and we bedded down to wait out the night.

My brother was delivering papers at the barracks on the 3rd floor when the shaking began. He said the men came running out, pushing him against the wall. He said they were trying to jump out the windows. He said he couldn’t move. He showed up at the house about 30 minutes later, completely frazzled. We had forgotten all about him during this ordeal.

All I remember after that was Mom trying to get out of Alaska after that.

One thought on “Theresa McLean – Elmendorf

  1. I was in 6th grade and going to Aurora Elementary school during the time of the Earthquake. My sister and I were trying to remember how long it was to get back to school that year. My only real memory of that school year was when the Principal of the school announced the death of President J.F. Kennedy over the loudspeaker and we had a moment of silence. My brain does not remember much of the school year after the quake. During the quake I had just started walking by myself to the movie theatre over by the Aurora school to meet up with friends to see a movie. Two minutes from my house I heard a terrific sound and looked up to see an apartment building swaying over my head so I tried to run and get away from it. It was a very long five minutes and it changed our family forever since my mother lost her job in town. My Dad was working at the 6981st building on the way to the Hillberg ski hill. He had to stay for 3days to handle communications. We did not know what had happened to him. Like everyone else that day we had no electricity, water, heat, or food. Now I always have a 3 week emergency supply pack which makes me in the minority. But I guess since I now live in WA state there is warning of a megathrust earthquake which could happen at any time. The WA governor has requested that citizens be ready to be on their own for 3 weeks in case of an earthquake. I know that one could happen so I am ready. As ready as you can be for one anyhow. I hope the people of Alaska take the threat of an earthquake seriously.

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