February 2nd 2005
" My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary."
Martin Luther (1483 - 1546)
THANK YOU AGAIN
Over the weekend I was telling someone why The American Red Cross is so near and dear to my heart, and they said, "You should put that in your weekly newsletter."
Well, it all started back in 1989, when I was living in San Francisco. I was driving home from work one early evening, and suddenly I had a flat tire. No, I had two flat tires... wait I had apparently run over a batch of nails, and all four of my tires had blown -- my car was bouncing around uncontrollably. I slowed down my car, and saw that all the cars around me had run over those same nails. Wait! It was an earthquake. The huge light pole across the street was doing the "hula"! Everything was shaking violently, and, it seemed, endlessly. Finally, the world was absolutely silent. Everyone was staring with wide eyes, wondering, "Would it start again?" "What should I do?" I was well acquainted with aftershocks, but thought I might just have enough time to make the five mile drive home to the Marina. Well, anyone who remembers that now infamous 7.1 quake, knows that the Marina was particularly hard hit.
As I drove into my neighborhood, I saw dazed people standing on their front yards, the sidewalks upheaved, garage doors stuck at odd and bizarre angles. By the time I got home, and made my way into my apartment, I could barely push my door open; there was such chaos inside.
My apartment, after the 1989 7.1 San Francisco Bay Area Earthquake
I had a little earthquake kit in my car trunk, so once seeing that I could no longer stay there (no electrical or water), I headed outside. By this time, fires were raging in the neighborhood. Gas fires, leaping over fences. I saw a couple I knew in a panic -- their child was trapped behind police barricades in a daycare center somewhere deep in the Marina. The police were yelling at them to get back. This couple was frantic. I grabbed them aside and said to the husband, you keep arguing with the police, and we'll slip around and get your child.
The plan worked, and we quickly made our way around the winding Marina streets. The fires were really making their presence known, and we raced to the house, pushed open the gate and ran into the backyard. There a teenager was left in charge of a dozen toddlers, who were happily playing with the daycare junglejims and toys. An adjacent fire was leaping over the backyard fence. The girl left in charge was in some state of shock, almost moving in slow motion. I barked at her to write a note, put it on the door to let the parents know that we were taking the kids to the high school. Then we tossed a child on each hip, and as they clung on, we grabbed the hands of the more able kids and ran out of there. Not wanting to scare the children, we sang and laughed our way out of this "disaster district". Once we got out of the barricaded residential district, where all the gas fires had sprung, we made our way to the high school via the main shopping street. There, we saw something odd, indeed. Everyone was walking slowly down the street eating ice cream! Here it seemed we had just come out of the jaws of a horror Godzilla movie, and now people were happily nursing ice cream cones. Well, what had happened was, all the electricity had blown, so the three ice cream stores on that street, rolled out their wares onto the sidewalk and just gave it away. I thought, "What a brilliant therapy"!
Finally, we found our way to the high school. And this is where my story brings you. All of this took place in approximately 25 minutes, and by the time I got to the high school with my little charges, the Red Cross was set up and fully functional!
Twenty five minutes! They were fully functional! They had everything set up that you could need: food, medical stations, lost persons stations... The children were immediately reunited with their parents, who had seen the note and rushed over.
The story doesn't stop there. After I dropped off the children, I wandered around and saw a group of people lining up at a pay phone. Remember, this was the days before cellular phones. All the phone lines were down, but apparently there was one payphone that was working, and people were lining up to let their loved ones know they were alive. I joined the line. It was a long line and moved slowly. I began talking to the young lady in front of me. Suddenly it hit me, this wasn't a young lady, this was a child... I asked her how old she was and she replied "twelve years old." She was walking home from school when the quake hit, and when she arrived home, she couldn't find her parents. So for the last two hours she had been walking around the streets of San Francisco trying to find them, when she saw this phone. Now I had a new charge. We checked regularly at the Red Cross lost persons station, but never found her family. So that first night, this little girl, as brave as could be, stayed by my side. We joined a small group of people who also had found themselves homeless and we slept side by side on the baseball diamond across the street from my off-limits apartment. I remember how soundly she slept, as only children can, while the rest of us stared wide-eyed throughout the night, quivering with every aftershock that riveted through the ground beneath us. Even the helicopters flying low overhead with their search lights beaming across us undeterred her sleep.
The next morning, I walked her over to the Red Cross station again, and there, finally was the reunion for which we had been waiting. The Red Cross had facilitated this, too.
I understood then what an amazing organization was this American Red Cross. I realized that the thousands of volunteers are trained and ready, just living in our cities, but ready at a minute's notice to fly to their stations and help those in need.
For the next week, I was beholden to the Red Cross. They fed me. They kept me sane (they even had therapists for the traumatized... I was a bit).
It's an experience I will never forget.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO READ MY LETTER EARLIER THIS WEEK, HERE IT IS AGAIN
(To see our Scrapbook from the evening, click HERE)
Our Fundraising Volunteer Committee
THOUSANDS RAISED AT RHYTHM CLUB
This Week's Celebrations
If it's your birthday this week, just let us know at the Rhythm Club so you can get your birthday dance!
You know you're hooked on swing when you say, "Super Bowl Sunday?... I'm going to my Lindy Charleston Workshop!". I was a little worried when Jamie let us know that Super Bowl Sunday fell on our new series and workshop. But that sure didn't stop all of you from signing up!
Remember today is the last day for the pre-registration discount. You can call me, 310 606 5606, register on-line, or bring your check tonight to the Rhythm Club.
We've really got two super fun workshops this February, and I wanted to make sure that the Ladies know to signed up right away for the 1940s Glamour Day -- it's already filling up and is limited to 25 ladies in each of the two classes. The word is out, and many gals from outside our classes are already signing up. So make sure that you pre-register quick if you want to attend this workshop.
Our new Sunday series begins this Sunday, February 6th (and, yes, we know it's Super Bowl Sunday... so if you have to miss the first week, join us on the second week!). We'll be starting the "B" tracks for Levels 1 & 2. This means, the first two weeks of class will be the same material as last series, but the last two weeks will be all brand new material! So take Level 1 and 2 again, for a good review of your six and eight count basics AND learn new material! Oh, boy!
Remember, Level 4 students, you can come back through any Level 1, 2, or 3 classes for $10/each for the entire series!
We have pre-registration discounts of 10% on the website. So you can register with your Quick Stop Card, or right on our site "easy peasy lemon squeezy". Go HERE. Remember, pre-register for class(es), you'll get a 10% discount off the normal prices. You can pre-register over the phone (310 606 5606), by check, or at on-line We hope that you'll enjoy taking advantage of this new offer...