Good Friday Memories

I'll never be able to think of Good Friday without remembering the Good Friday earthquake in Alaska. Surviving a 9.2 magnatude earthquake will leave quite an impression on a little girl.

At the time we lived on Fire Island in Cook Inlet, just outside of Anchorage.

It was a radar site for the FAA and my dad was stationed there. When I was young, I always thought the radar towers were haunted because they had a wierd glow at night! And the sweep of the radar inside the dome looked like a witch riding a broom going round and round!

The island installation wasn't much to look at...

For the FAA  families, there were apartments. For the Air Force, barracks, a chapel, a bx, just the basics. To get groceries, we would fly off the island to Anchorage, shop and then fly back with our groceries! Ah, the joys of powdered milk!


From the island, you could make out bits of Anchorage and the mountains behind her. And during the earthquake I remember only seeing the mountains at times and not seeing Anchorage or the water.

I also remember my dad yelling at me to get down because of the cracks that were opening up. The ground was shaking so hard, it sounded like a good idea... but I really thought my mom would be angry with me for getting my dress dirty. We were on our way back from chapel and I had my best dress on. The things that stick in your mind! I remember my dad crawling toward me and pulling me to the ground and I remember feeling relieved that I didn't have to try to remain upright anymore.

The last thing I remember was that it was really loud, a huge roar, and that it seemed to go on forever. And when it did finally stop, the adults seemed to not have answers for the first time in my memory. Everyone had questions... How bad was it? Was anyone hurt? How would we get in touch with the outside? Was the radar knocked out? Was everyone accounted for? Did we have phone or radio?

Ultimately, the damage on the island was less than that of other parts of Alaska, although we did lose our beach landing strip for several months. The waves took it out. We were able to let our family in Oregon know we were okay via hamm radio which for a while was our best means of communication.

A few months ago, my dad called me because he found this picture online. It's my dad looking at earthquake damage on the island on his way home from work.

These pictures easily bring back a number of the memories I have of that day in 1964. Although in the traditional measure of time, the earthquake was many years ago... that little girl in her best dress trying to 'surf' the earthquake is not too far away at all.

Wishing you all the best of Good Fridays!