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Quake Memories : Indelible Images of Sudden Upheaval : Compassion of Neighbors Leaves Fond Memories

Something so scary can leave such a positive emotional memory. The biggest impression the earthquake left on me was the affirmation that people are good and caring:

Like the man who owns the apartment building next door making it his mission to go up and down the street helping people check their gas lines. The homeowners of my condo complex calling out for those of us who hadn’t assembled in the courtyard right away.

The two hours we spent rounding up all the scared kitties of the building who had chosen to hide behind washers and dryers, and how those who had kitty carriers shared with those who did not so our animals would all be safe. The sharing of flashlights.

Two of us with cellular phones happily sharing with the others so loved ones could be called. The fabulous barbecue we held in the courtyard cooking everything we knew would go bad in our useless refrigerators--lamb, shrimp, hot dogs, burgers, chicken. Meeting our mystery neighbors who we had neither seen, nor met in the five years we lived here--John and Mary Louise who turned 90 and 91 this year and celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary.

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The compassionate owner of the Burbank Taco Bell giving out free cups of coffee that morning, and everyone agreeing it was the best stuff they had ever tasted! Taking tours of each other’s damage marking the first time we had all been in each other’s homes. Knowing my neighbors. What their pajamas look like. How their faces look when they are crying. What each person’s breaking point is. The prized possessions of each. Who has family nearby to flee to. Which ones could no longer bear the thought of going through such fright again and moved to another state.

TERRI MOUTON

Studio City

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