But the uneasy earth wasn't finished settling yet. Thirty-four aftershocks followed in the six hours between the main quake and midnight. There were another 30 the next day and 13 during the five days after that.
That first night, Curley Goodall, like many people, went out and drove the family car onto the front yard so they could leave if they had to. Navy men were aiding police by patrolling residential streets warning everyone to move to the higher ground of Signal Hill because a tidal wave was expected.
"Most everybody got out and went up Signal Hill," says Helen. "I don't know why we didn't. We stayed in our car on the lawn. It was a scary time. We had an old-fashioned wood stove and with the gas shut off, it was the only stove in the neighborhood that could be used. Everyone came and cooked meals on it.
"The church [First Brethren at 5th and Cherry] had been planning a big banquet in their basement that evening. The church collapsed in the earthquake. If it had hit an hour later we would all have been there. It would have been terrible." As it was, they saw the house next door get shaken off its foundations and their own fireplace crumbled. Later, driving around, they witnessed the bank at 7th and Cherry "going down in a heap."
Marie Hastings was 12 in 1933 and she lived with her parents and brother Glenn, 8, in Garden Grove. "It was almost as if someone shook the back door." Marie didn't wait to find out who. Having had a bad experience a few years earlier when a man attempted to climb through her bedroom window, she bolted through the living room and out the front door.
"Mom had a beauty parlor in our home and she was doing a woman's hair. In another ten minutes she would have had the woman under the dryer."
The Hastings had minor damage--some plaster fell off the ceiling and the water cooler, which used charcoal, fell over and scattered charcoal everywhere. Just a block away, however, the front end of the First National Bank toppled and at Garden Grove High School a student who was decorating for the Junior-Senior Banquet that evening was killed by falling bricks as she tried to run out of the building.
"We kids spent the night in our 1927 Nash at Dad's sister's place, away from wires and things. I slept on the back seat and Glenn slept on the floor.
"For a whole week we practically lived outside. Whenever we had an aftershock we'd run out of the house. Our neighbors had one of those black kettles and they kept it boiling on a fire in their yard. We all gathered around it, visited, did our washing."
To be concluded
Today I am thankful for horses.