The light fixture above the table swayed, and a persistent rattling sound came from the apartment upstairs.
|Photo: A small apartment's kitchen and dining area, with a hanging light fixture above the round table|
"Helena's usually so quiet; I wonder if she's taken up aerobics."
On October 1, 1987, at 7:42 a.m. (give or take a few seconds for the truth to sink in) I realized I was experiencing my first earthquake. When the earth quieted again--after what seemed like minutes, but was really only seconds--my nerves quieted, too, and I thought, "So this is what I can expect living here in southern California." Later, I learned that most earthquakes would be less intense. The Whittier Narrows earthquake ultimately registered as a 5.9 on the Richter scale, resulted in 8 deaths and 200 injuries, and revealed a previously-unknown fault line.