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Omen – San Francisco

Posted By Sara Bosl On November 11, 2010 @ 10:35 pm In Folk Beliefs | No Comments

It looks like earthquake weather today.

This is a phrase that Charlene’s grandmother used to say to her some mornings when the weather looked a certain way.  Charlene grew up in the city of San Francisco, as did many f her relatives before her, including her grandmother.  In 1906 there was a huge earthquake in San Francisco, which caused a huge fire that destroyed most of the city.  Charlene’s grandmother was living in San Francisco at the time.  She remembered that the weather was very grey and muggy that day.  So, every time the weather was similar, she would say it looks like earthquake weather today.

Charlene said it would scare her because she knew exactly what that meant.  Since Charlene had grown up in San Francisco she knew all about the earthquake, plus she had heard all of the stories that her grandmother had told her.  The phrase relates to two different identities.  The fact that her grandmother would say it and Charlene knew exactly what she was talking about, identified both a residents of San Francisco.  They were both well aware of the history of the earthquake in the city.  The fact that her grandmother was able sense earthquake weather showed identified her as part of the group of people who had lived through the 1906 earthquake.

When Charlene described the weather she said it was very muggy and foggy.  I have spent a lot of time in San Francisco and it is muggy and foggy most days.  But, Charlene said that it was a very specific type of weather that only people like her grandma could recognize.  It seems quite difficult to distinguish between one foggy day and another, but Charlene said that one of the days that her grandmother said, “it looks like earthquake weather today,” there was an earthquake.

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