I had just arrived home in Walnut Creek from work in Martinez: my younger daughter was already there. We were in the family room talking about nothing I can remember, when suddenly it was Show Time. Mantel decorations in the living room rattled a little, then it got worse and they began to fall, so I said to Camille, “Let’s go outside for this one”.
We were standing on the front lawn and as the shaking got worse the power lines nearby began swinging back and forth enough to occasionally touch, with an interesting light show. (At one point, Camille stretched out on the lawn, clutching the ground for stability.) I made sure we were clear of places where the lines could land if they burned through and then it got much better: throughout the neighborhood the lines were touching, and the short circuits started blowing the high voltage fuses. It sounded much like very large shotguns or maybe small mortar blasts, and then the lights started going out.
This being the Dark Ages (and not just because the power was out) before cell phones, we could only wonder what had happened to my wife, whose job required lots of driving around our county. She showed up in a few more minutes with her own stories…
Camille and Goli, her friend from next door, refused to come in the house that night; they just walked the street and stayed out on the porch.