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Southern California Voices on the Earthquake: The Long Road Back : Were Plans Changed?

<i> Compiled for The Times by Erik Hamilton</i>

Aftershocks are keeping anxiety levels high as Southern Californians begin to put their lives back together after the Northridge quake. People who have always depended on our freeways are reluctantly turning to public transportation and discovering its many benefits. Others from areas not affected by the temblor are learning valuable lessons about being prepared. And who can leave out the many volunteers who have shown us that in order to cope we have to work together. A look at how people are doing.

IRIS RYKER

Chatsworth, swimming school owner; resident of Canoga Park

I was going to take a vacation this summer; it’s been a long time since I’ve had some time off. But this earthquake set me back. I’ve lost a lot of stuff in my home. But right now, the most important thing is getting my business back together. The pool has some cracks and there was some equipment damaged. The big problem is getting the kids back into the water. Most of them seem a little nervous. Hopefully, time will heal that. But since I’m one of the only swim schools in the Valley, I have to get things going. Still, I can’t complain. Looking at some of the problems that some people have, I consider myself fortunate.

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PHILIP ELWELL

Owner Kings Head Pub, Santa Monica; lives in Malibu

My plans won’t change. It’s been a bit inconvenient. I’ve lost some things. All my glasses were broken, so I have touse plastic cups and stuff. But we’ll get over it. I know some of the locals who come in here have some problems. Some have been hit hard. Things like this are expected to happen. We do live in earthquake country. I’m just glad I had the place earthquake-proofed two years ago. At the time, I was a bit upset about the price. But looking at what could have happened, it could have been a lot worse.

WALTER DUDOR

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Lives within two miles of epicenter in Northridge

This quake will not change any of my family’s immediate or long-term plans. I’ve lived here all my life. And earthquakes are part of the territory. So we’re picking up and getting things back together. And since my business is here, we’re not just going to pack up and leave. My only problem is this quake hitting Northridge. I always thought disasters like this were only supposed to happen to Malibu, not Northridge.

HENNIE GORELICK

Rental property owner; resident of Woodland Hills

My husband and the kids were planning a trip to Holland this summer, but I don’t know now. We own other property that was near the quake and it was damaged. I spend more time with the tenants than with my own home, which also suffered damage. Things are just up in the air now. It’s going to cost a lot of money to fix these things. We have been putting money aside, but now something like this happens and it’s difficult. My husband, who always used to say that earthquakes were no big deal and that nobody gets hurt, has changed. He’s different now. There’s a lot of stress. This is one more reason to leave California.


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