At the end of 1993, I was 37, still going to trade school during
the day, and working at 800-Direct in the late evening. Computers
were coming into common use for most people, and I was learning
about electronics, servers, and the internet. Since my trade
school also had a placement service upon completion, I was pretty
confident that I could find a job with a company working with
computers or LAN management.
I was also taking a course on weekends where I was going to try
to become a Novell Certified network engineer (CNE). While my
studies for the trade school were not too difficult for me...I was
able to pretty much ace every single test I took with them...the
Novell learning was one of the hardest things I had ever done...
even up to this day.
So I was handling a pretty tight schedule...Computer school 8 in
the morning till 2 in the afternoon, and working at the answering
service from 3 PM to midnight, Monday-Friday. I took my Novell
school on Saturdays, and was able to read and study for this stuff
during slow periods at work late at night. But I only had a few
more months to go, I was really starting to feel like I was getting
my life in order.
But then, at 4:30 in the morning, on Monday, January 17, 1994, came
the Northridge Earthquake, a magnitude 6.7, which is pretty high on
what they call the Richter Scale.
Now, before I start to complain about the wrench that this threw
into my plans, let me count my blessings:
1. While our house was shaken up pretty badly, our town of Palmdale
was far enough away to not sustain any damage.
2. The quake came early in the morning on Martin Luthor King Day...
a holiday for many people. This combination prevented what could have
been a deadly catastrophe for people that could have been driving the
freeways...as it was, they attributed about 72 deaths to the quake.
3. Police Officer Clarence W. Dean was killed when his motorcycle
plunged off the end of the destroyed freeway connector where Highway
114 feeds into Interstate 5. The rebuilt connector bears his name to
Since the destroyed connector was really the ONLY easy way for commuters
in my town to get to the Valley, this presented quite a problem for me...
HOW was I going to continue going to school and to work? There was an
alternate route, however...taking Sand Canyon off the 114 to Little
Tujunga Canyon Road, leading into the Valley. Of course, myself and a
few thousand other people had the same idea...which meant very heavy
traffic, and a lot of time spent. But at least it was an option.
Click the map below to see the details:
And finally, I dug up an old video I had taken a short time after
the earthquake. It is very 'quaint'.
If the video below does not play, you could try this link:
Thank the Lord, I survived, and was able to continue my education
and my work.
Peace be with you.