I’ve noticed some writings lately about dreams, and trains, and dreams involving trains, and I was reminded of a dream I had a very long time ago.
Have you ever had a dream when you were a kid and you can still remember it to this day? Yeah, me too. I have a couple of those. But I’m only going to tell you about one of them. (This time).
I had this particular dream when I was 9 years old.
I can still remember seeing everyone in the car that day. Me, my brother, sister, my two cousins and our moms. My mom, little sister and my aunt were in the front seat, while us four boys were in the back seat of our old Nash Rambler. There were no seat belt laws back then so people usually piled as many people into a car as they could.
Not really paying much attention to where we were or what was going on, we boys were busy goofing around in the back seat. We only looked up when we noticed the car had stopped and my mother was frantically trying to start the car. The old Nash had stalled and simply would not start. We didn’t think much of it since this sort of thing happened a lot with this old car.
Then we noticed why mom was so panicked. We were stopped on the tracks and we could hear a train whistle blowing in the distance. Then we saw it. A big, black locomotive heading straight for us and it showed no signs of slowing down.
We tried to get out but the doors were locked and we couldn’t get them open. There was screaming and yelling and frantic jiggling of the door handles, but no one could get them open. And the train was getting closer.
More screaming, more yelling, more pounding on the doors, but still no luck. I was in the middle of the back seat and all I could do was watch.
Watch as that big, black train drew closer every second. There was nothing I could do but look out the window and watch as the train just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger until finally…..
Everything went black and I felt violent shaking and banging and bumping and a constant loud rumbling noise that seemed as though it just wouldn’t stop. It sounded a lot like a train.
When I opened my eyes, I noticed I was still in my bed in my room in our home in Saugus, California (just a few miles north of the San Fernando Valley, north of L.A.). My bed was shaking like crazy. At first I thought it was my step-dad hiding near the foot of my bed, shaking it trying to scare me (it was like him to play jokes like that), but then I watched as the antique style lamp on my bed-side table danced across the surface and shattered on the floor of my room. This was no joke.
As the house continued to shake, my step-dad ran up and down the hallway yelling for everyone to stay where they were. Finally, the shaking stopped. The shaking probably only lasted a minute, but it seemed like much longer.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was shortly after 6:01 AM, on February 9, 1971, and I had just experienced my first earthquake.
There were things all over the floor. Items that had been hanging on the walls or sitting on the dressers were a mess or were scattered about the room. My older brother had his own room and slept in a double bed. Luckily, he had rolled over in his sleep just before the quake hit and just barely missed being crushed by a large, heavy bookshelf my step-dad had made out of thick, heavy wood. The entire house was a mess, but it was still standing, and in relatively good shape.
I had to wait until my mom came and picked up enough of the glass off my floor before I could even get out of my bed (it was THAT bad).
A lot of us kids in the neighborhood spent the rest of the day riding our bikes around the area checking the damage to people’s homes. Ours wasn’t too bad. The only real damage was to our block wall around the back yard where the top row of blocks fell off. Some homes had broken windows and some fireplaces had fallen. Our fireplace was still intact.
There were some after-shocks during the day and we found out that if you run (or ride your bike) in a straight line down the middle of the street, you can’t feel the quake.
It was kind of cool. I suppose we wouldn’t have thought so if we had been closer to the fault line.
So that’s my dream involving a train. Not too long after that, we moved to Colorado to a small town in the Rockies. (Not because of the quake, though. Dad got transferred).
I didn’t learn until many years later that our house in California was in Seismic Zone 4 (the worst one). The place we moved to next was in Seismic Zone ZERO.
We had some harsh winters in Colorado, and a lot of snow, but the ground never moved.
God is good.
(I’ll never understand why our house in Southern California had a fireplace, but our house in Colorado didn’t).