My mother and father were both sixteen years old in 1964. They were living in Anchorage, Alaska, going to West Anchorage High School and had just met and begun to date.
School had been closed for the observance of Good Friday and, as usual in March, there was snow on the ground and dusk was settling on the city of 100,000 as people came home from work and began their evening preparations. My mother, whose father was stationed at Elmendorf Airforce Base on the north side of town, was sitting at the kitchen table finishing up some homework when she felt the shake start.
Anchorage sits on the Rim of Fire at the point where the Pacific tectonic plate rubs up against the North American plate and earthquakes are common so she didn't give it much notice but after fifteen seconds went by and it was still shaking she began to get nervous.
My father was at home with his family. His parents were in the basement of their downtown home working on paperwork for the family business and his brother and sister were off with friends when the shaking began and as the seconds passed without any relief he too began to realize things were serious.
This month marks the 46th anniversary of the 1964 earthquake. At a magnitude of 9.2 it is the third largest known earthquake in all of earth's history and my parents were there when it happened. With the recent events in Haiti and Chile I've been thinking of their experiences and while I'd heard much of their stories before, I sat down with them this weekend to record their memories and share them with you.
I know this podcast is long--nearly thirty minutes--but their experiences are amazing and paint such vivid pictures of what it was like to experience this unique event that I think it's justified. You'll hear their voices and see pictures from state archives that chronicle the damage. What an amazing world we live in when I can sit in Anchorage, Alaska and speak virtually face-to-face with my parents in Bangalore, India then present it to you as a podcast? The quality of sound isn't fabulous but it's good enough--though if you find it's too soft try listening with headphones.
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