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1322-D 12th Street

The old building in the center is where I lived from 1968 to 1971. The address was 1322-D 12th Street in Santa Monica. You can see two windows on the second floor: The one on the right in mine. When one walked in to the apartment, there were four rooms in the sequence living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.

It was fun living there until February 9, 1971. At 6 o’clock in the morning, I heard all the dogs in the area howling. It was followed within seconds by the Sylmar Earthquake, which registered 6.5 on the Richter scale. I was literally shaken to the floor and scared out of my mind. When the noise and shaking subsided, my kitchen was in shambles. I had to throw out several large garbage bagfulls of food.

Within days, I bid the kindly owners, A. J. and Birdie Olliff, farewell and found an apartment on Barrington Avenue in West Los Angeles. I was afraid that, in a hypothetically more severe earthquake, I would not be able to make it to the exit. Looking back, I don’t think that would in fact have been much of a problem. I was afraid and not thinking right at the time. Of course, in an earthquake, the worst thing you can do is run out of the building and be clobbered by falling debris.

The building is still there: The Google Maps picture was taken in August 2007. I am sure that the Olliffs have passed on in the intervening years. Old A. J. was something of a visionary. He talked of seeing items made of “chiROME steel” in his visions. I guess he could not pronounce the word “chrome.”