Earthquakes are not a common occurrence in the Pacific Northwest, but they do happen.. In nineteen-forty-eight we had a big one.
My mother was gone for the day and I was taking care of my 2-year-old brother. I was 17 at the time. We were in the kitchen having lunch when it started. Our old house began to creak and shudder, then the floor seemed to shift slightly. For a moment I was frozen to my chair, then I looked at my little brother and realized I had to get him out of the rickety building.
Grabbing the baby, highchair and all, I ran for the back door. Down the stairs I dashed, doing my best to handle the cumbersome chair. The Earth was moving like a sluggish sea. Trees were waving crazily and the telephone poles were leaning, first one way, then another. I was terrified, but managed to get the little guy out of the chair.
Flopping to the ground, I made an arch of my body over my brother in case something fell on us. There was a cacophony of sound around us; horns honking, people yelling, and finally the ground beneath us stopped that awful undulation. It was over.
During all of this commotion my brother hadn't made a sound. I carried him back into the house and sat down on the couch, rocking him back and forth. After a few minutes I stopped rocking and looked down at him, concerned because he was so quiet. His eyes were opened wide with uncertainty, as he said, rather tremulously, "Dat was a big twuck."