The Twilight Zone
The last thing I remember is falling asleep during a late night rerun of the Twilight Zone. So when it happened, it was especially eerie, like I had stepped into a lost episode, but Rod Serling was nowhere in sight; for moment, neither was anybody else. At 4:31 AM a merciless shove pushed me off my bed. I crawled on the floor, trying to escape the cruel, uncontrollable shaking, but it followed me. It followed me down the stairs and underneath the dining room table where my family joined me. Little did I realize that before the morning sun rose again, I would see everything differently.
My world changed. The 6.7 earthquake which crippled the Northridge area on January 17, 1994 rattled and ripped apart the fibers of security in our neighborhood. Our home was ruined; smashed glass, crumbled walls, and the lack of electricity, gas, and water made it uninhabitable. Without basic utilities, we slept and "lived" in our car for nine days while guarding our home from looters.
The damage was everywhere. A personal landmark, the Granada Hills Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, collapsed. The site where I had volunteered as a teen advisor 鈥?lobbying for and improving the quality of the teen health clinic while working one- on-one with underprivileged, problem teenagers 鈥?no longer existed. Only an empty lot and the memory of a valuable and productive medical and psychological outreach program for troubled youth remained.
As much as Northridge and its surrounding regions changed externally, so did the lives of the victims internally. Following this traumatic experience, I developed a keen awareness of the fragility of life and a newly restored appreciating for the simplest of my o