Earthquake gave locals stories to share

“A quick tour of Tacoma after Wednesday’s 6.8 earthquake revealed that not much was broken and jangled locally but some belongings and people’s nerves.A Pierce Transit bus tour taken minutes after the earthquake from downtown Tacoma to the Tacoma Mall down to Titlow Beach on 6th Avenue and back to 10th and Commerce revealed that everything appeared normal. There were no windows broken anywhere and except for a few bricks in the street that had fallen off the side of an old building near the 3500 block of Puget Sound Avenue, it could have been just another day.One bus driver said he was on Martin Luther King, Jr., Way when the earthquake began, and was more concerned for construction workers on a building’s scaffolding than he was about the bus rocking back and forth.They were holding on for dear life, he said.As the number 53 bus traveled its route, patrons getting on and off shared their experiences.At the Tacoma Mall Transit Center a woman said she was on the second floor at Mervyn’s when the shaking began. It was so loud! she said. Metal racks were clanging, picture frames were falling and breaking and some glassware too. I decided maybe I’d shopped enough for one day and wanted to go home.An employee at West Coast Vinyl on Orchard Street was more than ready to go home when he got on the bus.I jiggle my foot at work a lot and it makes the floor wiggle, he said. The guy next to me always asks me to stop when I do that. When he said, `Cut it out, Larry,’ and realized it wasn’t me, that’s when we realized it was an earthquake.He said they held on and watched as the office coffee pot fell and broke on the floor, and then the boss’s birthday cake slid and fell with the table it was on.I was scared, he said. I thought the building was coming down.Another rider agreed. Yeah, she said quietly. I had to ask myself when it was over, ‘Is it still shaking, or is it me?’On Thursday, bus riders continued to share their stories.I called my mother and told her we had a martini day, one rider said with a laugh. Megan was shaken and Robert wasn’t even stirred!One passenger said his cat couldn’t be found anywhere in the house. We opened up her can of food and she still didn’t show up. That’s when we knew something was really wrong.They finally found their tabby wedged between the mattress and headboard on their bed, unable to move or cry out. We recognized her by her little white nose.A California native, who was sick at home when the earthquake struck, said he needed to get a Washington dog to warn him the next time an earthquake was coming.California dogs don’t do anything, he said, they’re used to them. But a dog that doesn’t know about them will whine and let you know something’s wrong.Even he had to admit the earthquake had been a nerve shaker.I’ve been through so many of them in California that you just get used to holding on to your property and riding them out. But this one just went on too long.Look what I found in my pocket last night when I sorted my change, said a woman holding a penny between her fingers. There was ironic laughter as she passed it around to other passengers.The date was 1949–the year of Tacoma’s last major earthquake. “