We missed the North Carolina earthquake! I didn’t find neighbor Joyce’s text until we got home from church. She felt her house shake around 8 am, and that’s when we were getting our breakfast ready. My brother Bob felt it in Winston Salem, too. He wrote that it was 5.6 on the Richter scale, the biggest one in North Carolina since 1916. I’m sorry I missed it. Earthquakes in this area of the country tend to be amusing rather than catastrophic. It’s an event for which you compare stories and laugh about the odd things you observed.
The earthquake that amused me the most happened when daughter Lise was away at college in the mid-eighties. It was Saturday morning, a time when John enjoyed sleeping later than usual. I was dozing, not quite ready to get up. The bed began to shake, and I thought, “What is John $pencer up to now???”
Son $ was about seven years old at the time. He was a very active child, though not a destructive one. I realized there was an unearthly hum, low-pitched and barely audible. I nudged John and asked him if he thought we’d just had an earthquake. He grunted. Not getting any other response, I got up and went downstairs to find a radio. If something unusual were happening, I wanted human confirmation of it. The radio was set to a New York station, and in just a few minutes, the announcer said they were getting reports about an earthquake. Aha! I was right! Soon they had details. The epicenter was near Bronxville, 25 miles north of New York City. Lise’s college was in Bronxville! In those days before cell phones, you waited to hear from anyone who might have been in danger. Since $ and daughter Kate were still asleep, I went back to bed. A day or so later we found out Lise and most of those around her had slept through the earthquake. I was left with a tiny, niggling sense of guilt for having blamed my son for an earthquake.