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Column: Quake shakes up memories

Column: Quake shakes up memories

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I happened to be standing by a window Wednesday morning when the little earthquake started vibrating them.

At first I thought, “Maybe the furnace is on the fritz.” Then I thought, “little earthquake, probably.”

Well, I think that was the mildest earthquake I ever felt.

I remember a good rumbler more than 40 years ago when I was in Berkley. I was staying in a wood-frame house, so I wasn’t too worried, even when someone yelled, “We’re all going to die!”

Fortunately, it stopped before it caused too much damage.

Then some years ago, maybe 15, maybe more, there was the little earthquake that knocked over Judy Patrick’s woodpile in Greenwich. I thought she might be eligible for some sort of government assistance from that one.

That thought never came to anything, though.

Then there was my favorite earthquake.

We were in Jericho, Vermont, visiting my sister, her husband, the niece, and the nephews, maybe 30 years ago.

I might have been playing the world famous outlaw, Bad Bart, out in the backroom with the young ones when the house started shaking, not violently, but the whole house was shaking and stuff was rattling around.

It kept going on for a little while.

I thought, “That’s interesting.”

Then from the dining room, where all the other adults in the house including Maggie, and I think my sister’s friends the Shinoskys, and of course my sister Bonnie and her husband Randy, comes my sister’s voice and she is not happy.


My sister, ever since I can remember, was the boss of me.

I felt when I heard her authoritative tone that, perhaps I was causing the earthquake. I thought, “That’s my sister, she must be right.”

Upon further reflection, I thought, “In this one case, I think she is mistaken.”

So I did what any adult, self-respecting brother would do. I yelled back.


Bonnie never did admit she was wrong, even when I brought it up years later. She would just look at me stoically, as if humoring an imbecile.

As far as our relationship was concerned she was right, and if I pushed my dissenting point of view, she would give me the Bonnie is Superior face, and I would have to drop it.

Huh, maybe it wasn’t such a small earthquake we had Wednesday after all. It managed to jar loose several pleasant memories, anyway.

Forrest Hartley can feel distant vibrations even here in Lynwood in Hadley, N.Y. Leave a message at


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