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.

34 thoughts on “Earthquake!

  1. When I was in grad school at UT-Knoxville, we felt an earthquake that had its epicenter on the New Madrid fault way over in Missouri. It came at 2 or 3 in the morning, and I was asleep. Woke up and saw the room swaying, figured it was an earthquake. Then decided I was living in a poorly constructed off-campus apartment building, and if I got up and went outside I’d probably get hit by a flying brick if the quake got worse. So I rolled over and went back to sleep.

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  2. First time I’ve been online since this morning and have heard on the radio that Sparta was the epicenter, so I Googled to see how far Sparta was from your general area … 192 miles! The news said it was in the mountains so thought of you right away. We had an earthquake in 2018, just a few weeks after the big meteor struck. Ours was only 3.6 on the Richter scale, but I was sitting at the kitchen table and felt the rumble under my feet – thought I was imagining it, but turned on the all-news station and they were confirming the earthquake. They had a NC resident on the national CBS radio news … she said she felt it and thought it was the dog and looked down at the dog who was looking at her, obviously thinking she caused it. Wonder if she felt guilty like you did about John $? Glad you’re safe.


  3. I’m glad that you are ok. I didn’t believe when a friend told me about the earthquake today until I saw it social media because the news wasn’t on yet.


  4. When I was in high school, we experienced a mild earthquake in western Illinois, which usually doesn’t get them. It happened in the middle of the night and woke me up. At first I thought maybe it was storming outside, but when I got up to look out the window, everything was calm. As soon as I got back in bed, the subtle shaking started again and I saw a book slide across my dresser by itself. This was just after the movie The Exorcist came out, so I was very relieved the next morning to hear it had been an earthquake. LOL


  5. Thank goodness you are okay. It’s good to hear that earthquakes in your region tend to fall in the “amusing” category rather than catastrophic.


    1. Earthquakes are always good for casual conversation. I was thinking that no one mentioned it at outdoor church today, but we don’t talk to people very much. Well, they don’t talk to us. We’re not as scared of the virus as lots of other people, because we rarely have contact with others. Maybe no one felt it in Asheville where the church is.


  6. We felt it and both neighbors but not my SIL across the street. Hubby thought I was shaking his recliner. The sound was odd, I thought it was the big raindrops and the skylight adjusting. Hubby thought it was our cat running across the hardwood. It wasn’t our cat. He didn’t move, just got wide-eyed. My stomach actually felt off for several minutes like motion sickness. I’ve felt 3 not but nothing as strong or as long as this last one.


      1. I think it was our house, and we both interpreted what we heard differently but yes it was simultaneous with the motion shake. We haven’t felt the 4+ aftershocks


  7. While I was used to them in Oregon, I had never experienced one in Connecticut until a few years back and thought they didn’t happen here. Then I was sitting at my computer on our second floor and felt everything gently rock. I thought of earthquake immediately, but then countered myself with the idea that they don’t happen here. But it was a mild one after all.


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