I was actually in Riverside. Taking a break from being a UC Santa Cruz student. I was living in an apartment with my then girlfriend. Since I am not a baseball fan I didn't get the news right away that an earthquake had interrupted the world series (my sister was at that game). Then I started hearing. The Bay Bridge collapsed (that is what they said). The Marina district is in flames (my brother and sister-in-law lived in the Marina). I couldn't reach anybody on the phone. Nothing but a fast busy signal. The whole trunk line going into the city was overloaded.  I got in my car and drove way over the speed limit all the way to San Francisco. I saw a bus full of Sherriff deputies from some southern county. Probably they were heading north to help with the disaster. At first I slowed down not wanting to get a ticket. Then I said fuck it. What are they going to do pull me over with a bus? I put the pedal to the metal and they disappeared behind me.

I turned on the AM radio in the car and nothing I heard calmed my nerves. The Cypress structure collapsed. I didn't even know what that was, but I knew it was serious. The bay bridge collapsed. The Marina district is in flames. Live report from a helicopter hovering over downtown Santa Cruz. The pilot couldn't find Santa Cruz at first because all the lights were out. When they did find it, and turned on their spotlight, it lit up scenes of incredible damage, which they described for my benefit. Rubble everywhere. Collapsed roofs. Manikins and goods strewn across the floor. So many of my friends were at UC Santa Cruz. Were they OK? In 1989, nobody had cell phones. I could only hope for the best.

As I got closer to the bay area, it occurred to me that there could be damaged overpasses that were not yet marked or closed. The way I remember it now, there were no cars on the road. At the speed I was traveling I wouldn't be able to stop in time if I did find a collapsed overpass. But I didn't slow down.

I don't remember what time it was when I finally got to my mom's house in the City. Maybe 1 in the morning. My brother, his wife, and my sister were already there. There were aftershocks, but I was glad to be with them. Not knowing was the worst thing. My brother's apartment in the Marina was yellow tagged. Later, they were able to go back in and get belongings, but the building was unfit for habitation.

I found out later that UCSC was mostly OK. Classes were cancelled, and students on campus slept outside in fields to be safe. But in downtown Santa Cruz several people were killed in a collapsing masonry building. Nobody I knew personally. The entire downtown Santa Cruz was damaged and many, many businesses had to relocate to tents which were miraculously put up within a day or two. Bookshop Santa Cruz had new bags made up that had "shop" crossed out and "tent" written in. There was a foodcourt tent. But the old downtown was gone forever. The downtown you see there now is the new downtown.

The epicenter was inside the Forest of Nisene Marks, a California State park. My current home in the Santa Cruz mountains is only 2.5 miles from the epicenter.

Attached photo is in the public domain. I found it at this URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/LomaPrietaMallRescueMeyer1989.jpg