Friday, November 22, 2013


I’ve had the same mailing address since 1969. My folks had to get a po box for the brace shop after the earthquake. The building got torn down We had two earthquakes in Santa Rosa on the night of October 2, 1969 registering, like, 5.6 and 5.7 on the Richter Scale. I remember my sister was on the toilet for the first one. It splashed her on her butt. My mom, all 5'2" of her, ran to the kitchen to try and hold the cabinets shut. My dad ran out to the deck to see what he could, and saw a flash of light from town. I sat there on the floor like a dummy. By the time it was over, I'd finally figured out that I was supposed to be under my desk, or a doorway, so something. We all got in Mom’s ’68 Plymouth (read: ‘Boat’) and went downtown to check out the shop and clean up the mess. There was plaster on the floor, mostly along the edges. The machinery was fine. Shit got knocked over, but I don’t recall seeing any major damage, which is really amazing because there were huge display windows facing third street and lining the entry to the shop. We’re talkng like eight by ten foot panes or more. They weren’t even cracked. After we checked out the shop, we went to check on my parents’ friend Chuck Chapman’s liquor store out on Cleveland Ave. I guess the place was a shambles – glass and booze all over the floor. That’s where I first heard “I’d like to have helped clean up, but I was afraid I’d cut my tongue. On the way back home, we stopped so Dad could check on his friends Bob and Dieter at The Black Forest Inn. That’s when the second quake hit. My mom, my sister, and I are sitting in the boat (remember the ’68 Plymouth ?) and it starts rocking like a bouy in a storm and my mom yells at me “Randy, stop rocking the car!” And I answered “Mom, I’m not doin’ it!” Dad came out the big black wooden doors first and headed straight for one of the columns supporting the roof to hold on to. Bob and Dieter followed him out and saw Dad hugging that column, and from that day on gave him credit for holding up the building. When we went into town the next morning, third street, where the shop was, was a mess. Part of the wall above the Miramar had fallen. I saw a corner of the building fall off later that afternoon while KGO was interviewing my parents. (An interesting note: I never realized my dad had an accent till I heard that interview on TV. Really.) The bottom floor of our building looked OK, but in the apartments upstairs, there was a gap a foot wide between the wall and the ceiling. So they tore the building down. The Till Two, The Court Market, Western Union, and all the apartments with newly acquired skylights, along with our shop, I’m not sure, but I figure the market probably closed. Western Union went somewhere – they still mattered in those days. PG&E had some kind of offices there. I’m not sure what happened to them, but I think they got torn down, too, and Pac Bell, or whatever they were called at the time, expanded into their space. That’s the only building that survived – what’s g.enerally regarded as the ugliest building in town. Go figure. I think Till Two relocated somewhere down Santa Rosa Ave. So did Lou Saare. We found a place in a little strip mall across the creek from Memorial Hospital, down the row from the Music Box, a bar where the Raiders hung out when they trained at the El Rancho. Of course, while my parents looked for a new place, they needed a place to get their mail, so they got a box at the main post office. That’s where I get my mail