ashakeout stories Ken Joye

Ken Joye

When the Loma Prieta earthquake struck, I was on my way to a meeting of the SF chapter of the Special Libraries Association. It was to be held in downtown San Francisco and so was driving on I-280 toward the Daly City BART station. As I was driving north, near the Crystal Springs reservoir, the World Series pre-game show cut out on the radio, so I reached over to the controls to see if I needed to adjust the reception.

After a moment, the announcers came back on the air and reported that there had been an earthquake at Candlestick Park. Having felt nothing as I was driving at highway speed, I proceeded to the BART station, parked and went up to the platform to wait for my train. Of course, no trains were running; when I heard that part of the Bay Bridge had collapsed, I realized that my meeting was not going to take place that evening.

Driving back home on the freeway was uneventful, but getting to our home from the freeway was a challenge due to traffic light outages. That experience is my strongest personal memory of the earthquake—getting around in the aftermath via automobile was difficult enough that I fully embrace the idea of a bicycle brigade.

(Fortunately, we had no structural damage at our home, though many mason jars of pantry items (rice, beans, etc.) were smashed on the kitchen floor as was one piece of ceramics.)