I guess it was my first, too. At that age it really didn't frighten me. I laid in bed through the whole thing and my Mom ran in rousting me out of bed. I don't think I had any idea that it could physically hurt me, or that it could have destroyed our home. I was too young and dumb to worry about anything. Just took everything for granted.
I had a big ol' Teac reel-to-reel tape deck about two feet from my head, and the first thing I thought was, "If that thing falls on my head, it's gonna' do some real damage." So, I rode out the '71 earthquake hugging a tape deck.
A big mirror was temporarily stored behind a door, and it came crashing down onto the floor, breaking into a dozen sharp pieces. Luckily, I wasn't cut, despite not being able to find my shoes.
I got up and went to work. I was one of the first to arrive, and the place smelled of gas. I decided to get back out of the building. At the time, I worked at RCA, a place that was declared in the evacuated area later that day because of the Van Norman Dam breach. I didn't know when I went back home that I would be out of work for about a week until they could lower the level of the water.
My shop was about a mile south of me, and the race car was up on jack stands. When I finally got there later that day, it wasn't any longer on the stands, but there was virtually no damage to anything in the whole shop. The car was fine. Two Chrysler B-block heads that had been standing on end had fallen over, and one had put a big ding in a chrome valve cover.
The auto parts store about a hundred feet from the shop was TOAST inside, with shelving overturned and parts everywhere. I remember helping the owner re-organize his stock. I especially remember all the engine push rods, which were all loose because you could buy them individually back then. Dozens of different lengths and sizes. I had nothing else to do, 'cause I was out of work.
When the '87 Whittier Narrows quake struck, I had just walked into the shop at work. That was a much stronger quake at the locations I was at those times. I would much rather ride these out at home in bed than at work.
Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Japan - CA isn't next, I think Alaska is. Still, it's about this time I start thinkin' about e-quake insurance for the home. Just been living here too long - that So Cal - 'what me worry?' attitude.