Loma Prieta earthquake

When I was growing up in Menlo Park, the Giants moved to San Francisco. My extended family would attend games together, and my two uncles, who both lived in the City, taught me baseball and sowed the seeds for the lifetime fan I am.

Twenty five years ago today, I was still technically living in Southern California, but my late husband Chris Gulker had moved north to take a job at the San Francisco Examiner, along with son John, who had started high school. They were camped at my parents’ home in Menlo. The plan was for me to follow when our South Pasadena home was sold.

But in a twist of fate, the magazine I was working for, Modern Maturity (now AARP the Magazine), was holding its annual meeting of editorial and advertising staff at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Boss Rob Wood knew of my passion for the Giants and granted me time off to go to game three of the World Series at Candlestick.

My job was to be a photo runner for the Examiner, so I had a press credential. (It is ironic that Chris was instrumental in turning the Examiner into a digital newspaper, eliminating the need for a photo runner who “runs” film to a person on a scooter every few innings to take back to the paper for developing.)

I was prowling around, enjoying the unlimited access to the Stick when the quake hit. I remember two things distinctly: It was like being on a ship at sea, and unlike quakes I’d experienced in Southern California, there was no noise. Or better stated, the noise of the crowd drowned out the sound of the groaning old stadium.

Making my way down to the field, the players were milling around searching for and gathering family and friends from the stands before evacuating the facility. It was surreal. But not as much as driving back to the Examiner with photographer Kim Komenich. Given that all the street lights were out, he used the muni rail tracks to get across the City in the swiftest mode possible.

I stayed at the paper overnight to pitch in. It was Chris’s work that made possible an all-Macintosh-produced edition, as the earthquake led to a power shutdown that idled the newspaper’s publishing system.

And I didn’t get to see the Giants play in the World Series until 2002, the Series that broke Giants’ fans’ hearts. Now we think we win every other year. Let’s go Giants!

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