Monday, January 18, 2010

Earthquake interrupts wedding

If I started writing for the cheesy local news, I'd say something silly like "Couples usually feel the Earth move on the wedding night but this couple had a moving experience on their wedding day!"

Yeah, I'm sorry. Let's move on.

Addie Hauschild-Willis and her husband to be, Ian Willis, were changing clothes just 20minutes before their wedding ceremony on January 9 in Eureka when a 6.5 magnitude quake hit 27 miles off the northern coast of California. The earthquake occurred at 4:27 p.m. It knocked out power in the Eureka area and caused moderate damage to some structures.

While no one in the wedding party was hurt, it wasn't exactly part of the couple's plans. "And I looked at him and grabbed his arm and said, 'Oh my God, we're having an earthquake,'" said Hauschild-Willis. "We thought we were going to fall from the second floor down to the bottom floor."

Hauschild-Willis said the earthquake yanked them left and right, about six or seven inches. "I saw my younger daughter go flying down the hall. She was yelling, 'Where are my children? Where are my children?,'" said LaRee Hauschild, the mother of the bride. The kids were safe. They were sequestered under a table as the shaking seemed to go on forever.

"We were looking out the window and the trees are shaking, the windows are shaking...and then it got really violent," said Hauschild-Willis. Her uncle's store at the nearby Bayshore Mall was a mess. Merchandise was with littered across the floor. But after a quick check, the family decided the wedding had to go on.

"This is our wedding day and we had a major earthquake. How awesome is that?," said Hauschild-Willis. With the power out, family members lit candles and the couple read their vows by flashlight. "It turned out, actually, quite beautiful," said Hauschild-Willis, adding she is not superstitious. "I don't take it as a sign that our marriage is doomed or anything, because there was an earthquake that day."

Her mother said except for a slimmed down wedding dinner, it was everything she'd hoped for, and more. "She certainly had a memorable wedding day. It was one that we will never forget, ever, in our lives," said Hauschild.

As long as there's no damage (and certainly no lost life), the little earthquakes generally don't disrupt anything. Visitors to California always seem terrified that The Big One will strike during their stay, but anything under 5 just makes the day more interesting. The earthquake scene in LA Story is not that far off from some of my experiences. But I don't drink half-caff. Oh no.


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