The Big One?

I went to the University of Washington to get my masters degree in library science. The university has a beautiful library called the Suzzalo library. It has the soaring ceilings and beautiful woodwork required of old libraries. Before I attended there, the library school was housed in the basement of this building. How cool would it be to go to class here everyday?


Alas, it was not to be.

Oh, I still went to grad school, but my classes were not in the Suzzalo library. They were mostly in a white-painted cement cavern of a classroom in another building.

We weren’t even allowed in the Suzzalo library.

You see, Seattle is in an area that does occasionally have earthquakes. Not very often, but geologists do predict that a ‘big  one’ could hit the Puget Sound area some time. So the Suzzalo library was closed to be retrofitted for earthquake tremors.

I was about three weeks from finishing my degree when I read about the geological history of the area and likelihood of a big earthquake hitting the area. While it would be interesting to experience an earthquake, I would gladly pass on the big one. Since we were planning to move back to the relatively safe Midwest as soon as classes were done, I was pretty sure we would miss any large quake.

About a week later, I had just turned off the shower when I heard a rumbling. Two large labs lived in the apartment above us and their running could shake the floor. At first I suspected that they were playing, but then I realized that the tub itself was flexing. It didn’t take me long to realize that this was an earthquake. I grabbed a towel and dashed for the bedroom, where the blinds were swaying parallel to the window as the building rocked back and forth. The rolling seemed to last forever, but it was probably about thirty seconds.

Since we were packing to move, we no longer had any pictures on the walls and suffered no damage. The library I worked in at the university had one book fall off the shelves. Another campus library had several shelving units tip over.

The quake at the epicenter was a 6 on the Richter scale. It had probably diminished to a 4 where I was. It was enough to get the experience of an earthquake without the panic and terror.

My husband was closer to the epicenter which was on the south end of the Puget Sound and was also in the bathroom during the trembler.

I guess if there’s a natural disaster in our area, you’ll know where to find us.

About Joselyn

SAHM writing romance with at a case of the giggles. Former librarian. Avid reader. Runner.
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6 Responses to The Big One?

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    So glad the quake you experienced wasn’t “The Big One” and that you were able to get dressed and out of the bathroom! Earthquakes are scary – the one we had in West Michigan last year was a 4.2, but since we don’t get them around here that often most people didn’t realize what it was until afterwards. That library is amazing – too bad you weren’t able to experience it as a student.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joselyn says:

      I felt that one up in Shanty Creek. The resort shook for a couple seconds and I looked around for the big bus that drove by. There wasn’t anything. When I checked my FB later, there were tons of posts about the earthquake. I don’t think I would have noticed it if everything wasn’t quiet.


  2. jeff7salter says:

    Yikes — scary brush with that Quake. I’ve never been in one. Well, that’s not exactly correct. I’ve picked up the local paper and learned that our area experienced a minor quake the previous day… whereas I had not even been aware. Of that same (apparently minor) quake, I heard some local folks describe feeling it instantly. Some recognized it for a quake and others just noticed the movement and only later learned what it was. As I say, that was clearly a minor ripple.
    Now, to other matters — why do I keep forgetting that you and I both have the MLS?
    I took mine at LSU in Baton Rouge (lately in the headlines for a different reason). Left there in Dec. of ’77. Counting my grad school time, I spent 30 years in the profession.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joselyn says:

      I worked as a reference librarian, with a too long stint as an interim director, for about 7 years before the twins were born. I have my permanent certification. I don’t know if I will go back when the kids are older or not. I’d like to make this writing gig pay off a bit more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeff7salter says:

        I worked reference (in two diff. departments of LSU’s main library) while I was in grad school. After that, I went straight into admin (of a very small public system) for a couple of years. Afterwards, I spent some 26 yrs as Asst. Dir. of a large public system.


  3. That library is an incredibly beautiful room!I would love to spend any time there.
    Gee, you really ought to avoid high-risk earthquake zones!
    Or at least warn us so that we don’t travel there when you do!
    Stay safe, my Dear!


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