Teresa Lerew

I am visiting Anchorage for only the second time since living up here as a child. Being here brought back memories of the earthquake and I found this site researching it on the Internet. I was 8 years old during the Good Friday earthquake of 1964. We lived on Gamble St in an apartment in one end of the Free Methodist church, where my father was the pastor. My two native foster sisters and I were in the basement and my father had just come down when the rumbling started. He immediately knew what it was and told us to get under tables. He stood in a doorway. The shaking went on forever it seemed. We watched steel beams buckle and twist in the earthquakes fury but fortunately they did not break.

My mom managed to get down two flights of stairs to get to us, only to be yelled at by my father to ‘Get Out!’. She turned and managed to make it up the stairs and out of the church building where she saw a neighbor man, who had climbed a sapling birch tree swaying back and forth, almost hitting the ground with each sway! We were fortunate…the church only lost one brick. Many church members started showing up and spend many days with us, living in the church. It was the kids job to gather snow each day to be boiled and treated for use.

One of the scariest part of the whole ordeal was the many, many aftershocks. I slept for many months with my shoes in front of the door so I could jump into them on the way out of the house in case of another earthquake or aftershock. I remember walking around town afterward and each time we came to a crevasse, we would look down it to see if anyone had fallen in! My mom and I wanted to go back down to the states after that and ended up moving to WA State just in time to experience another (much smaller) quake there the next fall! After I got here to Anchorage today, I walked downtown. Seeing the JC Penny parking garage brought back all the old memories!

Teresa Lerew
Senior Associate Development Specialist

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