Dumbarton Bridge

Michael Tebow

I was young during the Loma Prieta Quake. Turned 7 that year. My family lived in Newark, in the East Bay towards the south end of the bay. There was 6 of us total, mom and dad, my older sister, older brother, me and then my younger sister. All us siblings were two years apart, so you can imagine the crap my mother had to deal with. My mother grew up in Palo Alto, so most of our time was spent there, including doctors and dentists appointments. That day was a Tuesday; we were all headed back to Newark from the dentist. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, so a day spent with all of us was very stressful.

We were on 101 almost to the exit to get into 84 and make our way across the Dumbarton Bridge and head back to Newark. My mom was upset about the noise we were making and then felt her car shake. She cursed and pulled over and at the same time noticing a motorcyclist and other motorists pulling over as well. I think she all at once realized what was happening. As a California/Bay Area native she had felt earthquakes before, and having seen no damage in our immediate area, she pulled back onto the freeway and we continued home.

Not long after we got over the bridge did my mother realize how large and potentially deadly this earthquake had been for her four children. The KGO transmission towers that were a symbol to us kids as “we’re almost home” had been heavily damaged. My mother’s first thought was that she just took her four young kids over a bridge that might had been damaged as well. She later realized that the bridge was closed to traffic soon after we made it across. Mostly because of the severe damage to the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge.

We made it home without a scratch and realized the full destructive power of the earthquake. Our house was fine except for some cracked sheetrock and a few pictures that had fallen. Watching the news, we knew that we were extremely lucky.

KGO towers 1989