Letters to the Editor
The Blaine board of directors and staff would like to give a special thank you to the Seaside Bakery and Café. The Seaside Bakery has supplied wonderful baked goods throughout the year 2004. Many of their fresh baked goods are delivered with a hot meal to our housebound people, who seldom get such wonderful treats.
I hope we all shop locally to support such businesses as the Seaside Bakery and Café. The success of the Blaine community and senior center depends on the continued support from Blaine, Semiahmoo, Birch Bay and Custer volunteers, businesses and residents.
Blaine Senior Center Director, Blaine
I am a resident of Birch Bay and purposely bought a home over a year ago at a higher elevation. After going through an earthquake and tidal waves myself, I still have deep and bothersome memories of March 24, 1964. The tragic events in Asia have caused me to revisit my own experience of so many years ago.
I’ve found it helpful to take some measure to deal with my latest reaction to all the earthquake/tidal wave news that has dredged up the terror one deals within such catastrophic events. For a couple days I found myself immobilized as I saw the horrible pictures on TV, and I couldn’t tear myself away from every bit of news I could find.
Then I realized I had been dealing with some of my own past emotional trauma in the Great 1964 Alaskan Earthquake, which measured 9.2 on the Richter scale.
I’ve attached a very brief description I wrote for the Geological Survey.
Great Alaskan Earthquake,
March 27, 1964
Our rental house was up against the hill near the lagoon area. Our family had been in Seward only six weeks before the earthquake. We had four children under the age of five and I was four and a half months pregnant with our fifth. My husband had gone to Anchorage; my visiting in-laws had left the day before for Kodiak. I was alone with no car. I was ironing, when suddenly without warning, I felt a jolt. This was just before the big one hit.
I turned the iron off to check the kids. My baby boy (19-months-old) was in a port-a-crib across the room when the 9.2 quake struck. The house rose up and down from side to side and the crib was sliding from one side of the room to the other, and I couldn’t get across to him. I held the other children on the couch as lighting fixtures snapped from the ceiling, books cascaded out of the bookshelves, and I could hear things flying in the kitchen. I shall never forget the grinding sounds all around the house.
When the quake stopped, I rushed to the door to see total darkness except for flame red clouds and people screaming, “Get to the hills.” I didn’t know if there had been an explosion on the docks, or what. The hill with a waterfall was right behind the house.
There was no way for a pregnant woman with four small children to get “into the hills.” I didn’t know anything about tidal waves at the time, but thought the fires would consume us. I ran to the road; flagged cars until a lady stopped. I ran into the house and gathered the kids; wadded though debris to the kitchen to get two cans of baby formula; one bottle of milk and ran to the car.
I left with no diapers, no clothes for the kids, no shoes on them (they had been sick and were in their pajamas), and no food for them. The teacher who picked us up took us as far as it was possible to drive out of town.
The bridges, which had been pile driven, were suspended three and a half feet above the surrounding ground. All we could do was lift the children across gaps in the earth, which was still moving, and up onto the twisted concrete bridge.
Women and children headed out of town, while men went back into town to help. By this time I had heard about the tidal waves. The myth about the adrenaline kicking in just didn’t happen for me. I couldn’t carry my heavy youngest son, so someone took him from my arms.
My daughter was taken by another, and was separated for a period of time, but, thanks to God, I got her back before we headed to a home where I stayed with others for the next four or five days. It was while we were there that I asked men to go to my house and pick up medicine for my children, but they returned to tell me that my house was gone.
Since then, we have estimated that I got out of the house only minutes before the backsplash from the second tidal wave hit our home. The water was estimated to be about 35 feet high at that point in the lagoon.
After all these years, the tragic pictures of the earthquake and tidal waves in Asia have dredged up many emotions I experienced on March 27, 1964. My prayers go out to them all!
Alberta J. Roper
As the “gloomy owner” of the classic sedan involved in an accident featured in Jerry Gay’s column in the December 23 – January 5 edition of The Northern Light, I am compelled to state my own opinion in regards to the incident.
At said time, I could not see my “baby” being rebuilt with insurance money, “even better than before” as I couldn’t see the full extent of damage to my vehicle and as I only carry liability insurance, responsibility was still in question, not to mention that my ’75 Cutlass is no baby.
The “three small children,” Jerry referred to are mine and were with me in the accident. We were simply attempting to go west across the truck crossing on D Street on one of the heaviest days of traffic of the year, “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, and because of the relentless northbound traffic not keeping the intersection clear (even the traffic guides had a hard time making them comply), poor visibility and a fast moving delivery truck intent on finishing a hard days work, it nearly became my family’s “Black Friday.”
At the time, I was mostly thinking how close we came to being seriously injured and why there isn’t a traffic light in place there. The police at the scene mentioned that there needed to be a fatality at the intersection to warrant a traffic light at D Street and the truck crossing and not just because of us, there are a lot of accidents at that intersection.
I have heard that an overpass is going in there. Does anyone know if that is true, and if so, when? I, for one, am hoping it will be soon as I don’t relish another traffic light in Blaine on account of a tragedy.
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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