Yesterday morning I was so relieved to see that the blog post came out okay with no glaring grammatical errors… because it was the first time I didn’t have time to proofread it! Why?
An earthquake tremor! I had heard on the local news channel that the Lowcountry had experienced an earlier tremor around noon but I felt nothing and didn’t give it much thought.
But then… just as I was typing the last post line-I heard this strange roaring “pop” sound and then felt the house shake! I quickly jumped up and ran around the house looking for more cracks in the walls or ceilings and uttered a prayer of thanks when I found none.
I had taken a geological course on earthquakes for renewal teaching certification and knew Summerville was close to a fault line.
The last time Summerville experienced a big earthquake was August 31, 1868. I remember when I first moved to Summerville in 1973 I met a family who still had their Heirloom Grandfather clock frozen on 9:50 PM when the earthquake struck.
The Summerville area sustained more damage than Charleston and the tremors were felt in NYC and as far west as St. Louis, Mo. It left more than 100 people dead with hundreds of buildings destroyed. It was the largest recorded earthquake in the history of southeastern United States.
Soon after buildings and homes rebuilt with earthquake bolts to help keep structures secured.
Despite all the destruction and fear …some funny colorful stories emerged from this disaster.
The first one took place in Marion Square in downtown Charleston where residents had fled fearing more tremors and destruction.
During the night an elderly tiny little Gullah woman came to the square with the last two possessions she had left in the world-a cow and a chicken she was holding.
As dawn broke through-her voice could be heard shouting quite loudly to God in prayer and petition.
” Oh Lawd help us all! My cow all dried up and my chicken ain’t lay no egg in ” tree” days!
Cum down Yer right now! …and God-Ya come ” youself” -Don’t send you Son-this ain’t no place for “chillun”!
In Porch Rocker Recollections this funny tale is told about the night of the great quake!
This story was regaled -about and around -the Mansfield house in Summerville …where at the time of the quake, two spinster sisters and their unmarried brother, Mr. Hamilton Mansfield, lived.
Mr. Mansfield was known and recognized around town by his proper manners and fastidious attire-including his black silk top hat and silver-headed cane.
However, apparently, in the fright and confusion that night Mr. Mansfield forgot to put on any other attire-except for his top hat 🎩 and cane!
He was walking around stark naked tipping his hat politely to all the ladies. Of course the wide-eyed children were laughing their heads off and for some-it would be all they remembered of the great quake!
One lesson was learned by many of the mothers in the crowd-from that time on every family member had to lay out their clothes for the next morning at the foot of the bed before going to sleep!
So until tomorrow… let us all remember the Girl Scout motto: ” Be Prepared!”
Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh