Pleasanton Court Pools

Judy McElearney Nobriga

I was inside my home in Pleasanton with my 10 year-old son, Scott. My other two children were outside on the court, playing and riding their bicycles.

As a native San Franciscan, I was familiar with earthquakes and this one felt much stronger than other ‘big’ ones. It seemed to go on for a long time (30 seconds is a long time with the movement of your home).

My son, who is generally very balanced and not threatened by much, said “Maaaaaaaaaaa oooooooommmmm”. That shook me into getting us both to a doorway where we were taught was the best place to be when inside. I knew my other children would have been safer outside.

We looked through the house and into the back yard and could see the pool making waves and spilling out into the culvert that carries excess water down the block and into the sewers. We have 8 pools in a court of 13 homes. As soon as it was safe, we went outside to check on the children. We saw water gushing down the street from other pools that had emptied and overflowed.

My neighbor had rushed outside to gather all the children and check on them. Another neighbor stood in his doorway, and to bring his personality forward, we heard him singing: “I feel the earth move under my feet!” Yes, levity to a scary situation.

I looked down the block at the house on the corner being built. It was being framed and the workers were still there, on the 3rd story, being rocked and holding on.

Grateful to have all my children safe, I called my husband. He was also safe. My Mom called me to let me know the Carquinez Bridge had fallen. Oh, no! When I got the television on, I realized it was the Bay Bridge, not the Carquinez!

The telephones went silent locally. I had only a short window of time before they did not work within the Bay Area. We later made a plan to call a friend who lives across the country to let each other know we were safe should this happen again.

Hearing other stories, I remembered a funny one. My girlfriend was pregnant with her son, Brendan. She was just leaving work and started putting her key into the car lock when she felt woozy. She said she felt faint…not realizing it was the earthquake.