“It's a Sad Story With a Happy Ending” – Couple Reflects on Rebuilding After Loma Prieta Earthquake

Friday marks 25 years since the deadly and damaging Loma Prieta Earthquake shook California.

Among the billions of dollars in damage, many homes were destroyed. For some, it took years to rebuild.

“I just didn't believe we could have anything like this,” Brent Browning told this news station after the quake in 1989.

Brent Browning and his wife Erma had just arrived home from vacation to find their house in the Santa Cruz Mountains ripped from its foundation, and shoved eight feet down the slope.

"I'll be a lot happier when it's put back,” he said in the news report.

The entire house was on a 13 degree tilt. The living room and bedrooms were slanted.

"Brand new deck, I'd just finished before the quake."

Erma Browning says they arrived the night of the earthquake, and started sobbing. Brent says he cried on a neighbor’s shoulder.

"It was just too overwhelming," he said.

The Browning family spent the next three and a half years rebuilding the home; the couple continues to live in today.

The house was built in the same spot and looks completely different from the outside.Parts of the wooden frame are still intact. Inside, it’s very similar. Brent drew up the blueprints himself. Insurance paid the $400,000 it took to rebuild. The couple says it took a lot of persistence.

"We have a house we really love now, and we'll probably stay here forever," Brent Browning said.

We showed them the old story. They laughed in parts and sighed in others.

"It reminded us of how far we've come, from that dark day."

But there's no place they'd rather be than right here, on the property.

"It's a sad story with a happy ending. If that makes sense?" Browning said

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