Where Were You When the Earthquake Hit?

Illinois. Is. The. Answer.

I didn’t actually feel this one.

I can just hear my West Coast relatives and friends screaming, “REALLY??? You think you had an earthquake? What was it, a measly 3.8?”

The answer is, “Yes, and it woke me up!”

Even my husband questions my claims that I have felt earthquakes here in our snug little suburban split level in northwest Chicagoland.

I must be like the Princess and the Pea when it comes to earthquakes, because I’m able to sleep through just about anything else — thunderstorms, sirens, barking dogs, no problem.

We have had two significant quakes in northern Illinois in the seven years that we have lived in this house. For the five seconds that the quake is recognizable, I am awakened from sleep not because the bed is shaking, but because my house is screaming. Literally — the torsion caused by the earthquake twists the structural innards of my house and it screams in pain. It’s kind of an indescribable sound, like a moan crossed with a whistle. And my husband sleeps right through it.

The good news (if you can call it good) is that there is proof of my Princessian sensitivity — and yes, I made up that word. My house has two major cracks in the drywall that appeared after these quakes. Some of my students also feel the quakes — is that proof of their sensitivity as well? I’m vindicated because CNN and the Illinois State Geological Survey support my claims.

Whew. I’m not crazy. Just sensitive. I feel a lot better now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, or at least I’m calm until the next time the earth moves under my feet.

This post is linked up Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop. Check out her site to see the work many creative writers, including my niece Jessie at Vanderbilt Wife, .

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7 responses

  1. That’s amazing! I am like you, I can sleep through anything. I would hope I’d wake up during an earthquake. That is creepy the sound the house makes.

    Lately my stepdaughter turning over in bed (apparently pretty swiftly), in her sleep, and she knocks her leg against the wall. I swear it feels like the whole house is shaking. That woke me up quite a bit. I thought it was a ghost slamming a door! LOL.

  2. believe it or not, I’ve experienced 2 earthquakes in good old Cirencester.

    The first one made the table on which our office printer sits sway gently back and forth…. probably because I was 2 floors up in a wooden-frame building dating from about 1400. Couldn’t build a better seismograph”

    The second one was like the noise and vibration of an enormous passing truck.

    Both about 5.2 apparently….

  3. At least no one told you it was a plane landing like my husband did! LOL

  4. It’s nice to know your not crazy 😉

  5. I don’t know where the earthquake was centered, but we felt one when we were in Nashville. (Also when I was in college at Richmond.)

    But in Nashville, we woke up because the door was shaking up and down in our bedroom. Aren’t you glad to have a nice, quality home? Ha.

  6. I love the princess and the pea concept here – no one believed her either 🙂 Clearly your house is also very sensitive too and keen to back up your own story telling with the cracks in the walls. Lovely post.

  7. We had one in Virginia a few years back. Only around 2.something, but In Richmond it felt like a truck had hit the office, and MArk felt it at home 40 miles north too. We didn’t feel the one in MAryland earlier this week.

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