Not all memories proved amusing in retrospect. Most people were just plain scared and some had close calls. Newton and Sara Kradjian lived at 1325 Appleton, Long Beach. They had tickets to a Christian Endeavor Booster Banquet at the First Christian Church that night and Sara was home worrying that her husband wouldn't be back in time to go. She had already called him two or three times at Newton's Garage.
The garage was brick with a steep gable roof and held up to four cars. Newton had just overhauled the engine of a '28 4-door Buick sedan. He finished replacing the oil pan, left the car on stilts and walked out of the garage with his mechanic Harry Candler and friend Roy LaNobs at about 5:35.
He had driven about three blocks when he felt as if a tire had gone flat. He looked up and saw walls falling from the buildings to each side of him.
The garage was demolished. Had Newton delayed any longer under the sedan, he would have been killed.
Hazel Lewis, who turned 94 last month, was with her husband at their 1909 E. 10th Street home that afternoon. She was sitting at one end of the couch, talking on the telephone. At the first violent shake their piano slid out from the wall and her husband had to grab the big radio on top of it to keep it from falling.
Their sons, 12 and 4, were playing marbles down the street. Terrified, they ran home, leaping undulations in the road as the quake moved down the street. The family slept in their car that night, too scared to stay inside during the frequent aftershocks.
Earlene Mann (later Eisemann) was at home with her parents in Highland Park. She was talking to her cat out the kitchen window. "At the first shake the cat took off. I saw the back yard heaving in waves across the yard...the
poor cat had nowhere solid to land on as he tried to run.
"My sister had been sick and my mother was in an
overstuffed chair holding her. Every time she tried to get out of the chair
the earth would quake again and she would be thrown back down
into the chair.
"Father drove us to Long Beach. We saw the sides of buildings, collapsed eastward. The sides were gone from buildings four stories high and we could see right into every room."
Curley and Helen Goodall and their baby daughter Wanda lived at 563 Cherry then. Helen's brother Wynn was staying with them and they were all eating dinner in the kitchen when the quake started. Wynn grabbed Wanda out of her highchair, rushed her outside and set her down on the ground.
When he came back inside everything in the kitchen cupboards was in the middle of the floor--ketchup, Crisco, honey, flour and sugar all spilled together and broken glass all over.
"Wynn hated the mess," remembers Helen. "He couldn't stand having things messed up."
To be continued
Today I am thankful that I don't hurt any place.