Tragedy in Japan

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Mar 16, 2011 - 03:52 PM

Photo: Joan Crown Hodges with her son, Cole, and husband Art in Japan.

Joan Crown Hodges with her son, Cole, and husband Art in Japan.

Joan Crown Hodges, daughter of Mary Almond of Cobbs Creek, experienced first hand the tremors, and then the emotions involved in the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastated portions of Japan Friday.

Hodges, a teacher for the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, was in her classroom at the time the major quake hit.

Hodges said her typical school day ends at 2:30 p.m. However, on Friday, she was in the middle of a parent conference right when the quake struck at 2:49 p.m.

"At first, it was a low rumble, and I said ‘earthquake,’" Hodges said. Her student and his younger sister were laughing, but soon the building (which is a steel structure and has a roller system underneath to keep from feeling the full impact of the quakes) was literally rocking back and forth, she said.

Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, and Hodges said the ones the country normally experiences are usually little rumbles that last no longer than 30 seconds. Friday’s was different.

"This one went on and built in intensity," Hodges said. "I asked my student and his mother and sister to assume drill positions under their desks in case anything fell, and at that point, I really thought it might."

Hodges, along with the others in the classroom, rode the quake out underneath their desks until the principal came on the intercom to announce the building would be evacuated so it could be inspected for structural damage. Hodges said she saw no immediate damage to her classroom.