Other People's Stories, Part 7 of ?: The Great Earthquake

This is a picture of Corbett Ave, San Francisco, 1923:

My Grandma Amy was not a great talker. In fact, although I spent loads and loads of quantity time with her over the course of twenty-eight years, I think she only told me about five stories, total. And most of them only once. Each of them lasted less than five minutes. (Grandma Amy was married to Grandpa Alvin, and he talked a lot.) This is a combination of two of Amy's stories, one of which was an "other people's stories" for her, too. She might have called them, "My Childhood on Twin Peaks," and "The Great Earthquake of 1906".

Grandma Amy grew up on Corbett Avenue, Twin Peaks, San Francisco. When she was a child, Twin Peaks was not the posh neighborhood it is today. No one wanted to walk up that hill to get home, and according to my second cousin Marsha, "No one ever looked at the view." It was a little like living in the country, but still a short walk to the city. The house was on top of a steep, grassy hill, and little Amy would slide down the hill on a sled sometimes when the dew collected on the long grass, which was often. The hill was foggy. Whenever the sun came out, Amy's mother would quickly start washing clothes, singing out, "It's a good drying day!"

Amy's mother, herself, grew up on Twin Peaks, and she remembered the 1906 Earthquake. The earthquake itself was not so memorable. It was early in the morning. Their house on Corbett was not damaged significantly. As the day wore on, though, people started trickling up the hill. The city became more and more dangerous, because people were panicking, buildings were collapsing, and worst of all, everything was catching fire. As people came up the hill and sat to rest, my great-great grandmother made them tea and gave them food to eat. By evening, a small crowd of tired, bewildered people were resting on the hill. They sat there, on future Grandma Amy's sledding hill, late into the night, drinking my great-great grandmother's tea, and they watched the city burn.

1 comment:

  1. Love it-fantastic story. I never knew that Amy grew up on Twin Peaks.