Yesterday’s Earthquake: Help Me Fill in the Gaps

Yesterday, from Maine to South Carolina, folks felt the strongest recorded earthquake to hit the east coast in 67 years. People are talking about it, because of course, it’s so notable. We rarely experience earthquakes here. Schools were evacuated, buildings swayed and shook, floors rattled and moved.

I felt nothing.

And quite honestly, I feel a little gypped.

Somewhere between leaving the faculty and staff luncheon at my university in the gymnasium and walking back over to the theatre for the afternoon meeting I was to attend, I missed it.


My friend and colleague Romas said to me when I made my way to the room, “Stephanie, did you feel that?”

“What?” I asked.

“The building shook. Didn’t you feel it? I think we just had an earthquake.”

“Yeah, right,” I said. He’s a good kidder, so I thought maybe he was pulling my leg.

I knew he wasn’t when other professors chimed in with their own reports.

“Yes…it was a little scary,” they said.

When my cellular wasn’t getting service, it caused me to pause, and I thought maybe, just maybe, we did have an earthquake. Romas wasn’t joking.

At that point, I was getting a little peeved. How could I have been on campus and not felt anything? I wanted to be able to say to people, “Oh my gosh! It was crazy…I was (here) when it happened.” It was one of those moments to remember. And I won’t be able to join in the discussions.

Because I don’t know where the hell I was. I can’t believe I missed it.

My kids were with my husband’s parents in Delaware. They all felt it. My husband was on the 4th floor of his office building in Rockville. He felt it and was evacuated. My mother and father were in their garage, things rattling off the walls in Arnold, neighbors running out of their houses. They felt it. My sister-in-law had her youngest child on the potty at Trader Joe’s. They felt it. My colleagues were in the Stevenson theatre waiting for a meeting to begin. They felt it. My friend Jenny was in Justice in the mall. She felt it, and everyone in the mall headed for the exits. Such great stories…

This blog post would have been so much different if I’d actually experienced it.

But I didn’t.

Therefore, I need your stories to fill in the gaps for me. Go ahead. Comment below. Make me feel worse about missing it than I already do.

Because, my friends, as a storyteller, it pains me that I have no story to tell. Let’s face it—there isn’t much of a story in not experiencing a record-setting earthquake.


  • jenny

    Loved your blog today. Super funny. Read it aloud to kids. I think that may have been my first time I have left that store without spending a dime.

  • Crissie

    My boyfriend didn’t feel it either. I was sitting on our couch completing an expense report for work when first the recliner, the windows and soon enough the entire foundation started creaking and shaking. Brandon was outside doing work around the house and I thought it was just him backing the tractor into the house or something normal like that, cause I somehow would not put that past him. I went outside after it stopped (50 seconds or so later) and asked him what he was doing to shake the entire house like that. He looked at me as though I had grown a new head, and told me to go sit down before I fell down because I was still sick. I turned on the news in time to hear a report telling everyone to calm down and that it had not been a terrorist attack or a bomb but an earthquake. Needless to say, I enjoyed a nice “I told you so” moment after the TV confirmed what I suspected.

  • Stacey

    I was at the pool with about 8 kids and my friend Anne. Our shoes were off so barefeet on the grass, we started to feel the shaking. Anne immedaitely said it was an earthquake. I said no way, it’s a tractor trailer going by on Norbeck Road. Then the trembling increased and we knew it was an earthquake. The structure over our picnic tables was swaying and we yelled for the little girls to get out! My friend Marlena, the 2nd grade teacher aid, came by the pool about 30 minutes later becuase I had her son. She described panic in the hallway at school as they were preparing their classrooms for Tuesday. The teachers ran to the bathroom. They had just reviewed the emergency procedures that morning…..hurricane, fire, sniper, but no earthquake review. I bet they are reviewing it this morning!

    • Steph's Scribe/Stephanie Verni


      I heard a man on WBAL radio last night who is a teacher at a school in Federal Hill explain the immense responsibility he felt for the safety of the children–and helping them safely exit the school. Kudos to our educators all over for the role they play in taking care of our children when we are not around to do so.

      I wish I had felt just one vibration…

  • Sue Ellen Grove

    I was at the pool standing in a circle of 5 women, chatting. Suddenly several ladies in lounge chairs bolted upright in their chairs and looked around for their kids. Instinctual reaction for us moms. Three of us “chatters” standing with me felt the shaking, but my friend, Linda and I were oblivious.

    I’m with you, Stephanie. I felt nothing! I missed the big event. I was standing in the middle of it with people all around me experiencing a rarity in these parts and I got nothing. Let’s go out to California and stay until we complete our remedial work. 😉

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    Ok so I am standing at Diane’s cube talking about a client when all of a sudden the building did a couple of shakes. So I immediately thought there was some construction going on upstairs in my building. Then the building started swaying and Diane and I looked at each other with the face of “wtf is happening?”. Then she dropped under her desk so fast I didn’t even see her move. It was like that scene in Transformers with the parents. Then I looked at Kathy to the right of me and she had the same look and she dropped under her desk. I panicked and didn’t know what to do so I popped not too gracefully under the desk with Kathy. We were staring at each other for a few seconds and then my boss Debbie came around the corner and ordered everyone to “GETOUTNOWWW!”. We all quickly made our way to the stairs and evacuated the building. Then we just sat with wide eyes and kept saying what the heck?? No cell service, some text service. Marshall (13) texted me to see if I felt the earthy quake? Mitchell (14) was at an ice cream social on his 1st day of high school and some kid asked him if he just farted. He said “Really?” They were then quickly evacuated and sent home.

  • Romas A. Laskauskas

    Hi Steph…It’s Romas, the great kidder. I will share my story because at 1:51pm on August 23, 2011, I was rushing to get to the same meeting we both attended shortly after “The Great Baltimore Earthquake of 2011”. I had just gone out to my car and was returning to the Academic Center. As I went to open the large glass door, it began vibrating in my hand…quite noticably. When I had the door open wide enough for me to get my rather large body through, I felt a huge jolt…like a truck had slammed into the building. Of course, being the self-centered person that I am, my first thought was “Boy, I sure am strong…I should be more careful when I jam the door open.” But I hurried into the building only to see the ladies from the Registrar’s Office evacuating their offices in a panic about the building shaking. By the time I got to the the meeting room, everyone was talking about the earthquake. Sorry that you missed it, Stephanie…I wasn’t kidding!

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