Sunday, November 4, 2012

****Sandy****

My Jersey Shore

I put off writing about this.  The truth is, I have not been emotionally able to do so.  I have been in a state of disbelief and sorrow.

How I wish that Hurricane/Super Storm Sandy was the flop that people were saying it would be.  How I wish that I never got to witness the greatest storm of my lifetime, maybe my daughter's lifetime.  I never, ever thought that I would be witness to such devastation in my home state.  There have been storms, sure, that have knocked down trees and power lines.  But nothing even rivals the destruction that Sandy brought with her.

Sandy has re-shaped the Jersey coastline.  The Jersey shore, as I know it, will never be the same.  My childhood memories were created in the sand and waves of  the Jersey Shore.  Ocean City, Avon-by-the-Sea, Ocean Grove, Seven Presidents, and Long Beach Island, to name a few, were all beaches I frequented.  My grandparents lived near Ocean City, NJ and so many a day I was covered head to toe in sand and spent hours at a time in the waves.  On hot summer days my mom would pack us up and we would drive down to spend the day on the beach, often meeting friends there.  I spent many, many wonderful times in Avalon with my aunts, uncles and cousins.  I vacationed on LBI, pretending I was Ariel, singing "Part of this world" as I floated on a boogie board.

Introducing Lilly to the shore has been one of the greatest pleasures of motherhood to me.  I have pictures of Lilly each summer down the shore and they are some of my favorites of her.  Seeing Lilly get as much pleasure from the sand and waves as I did makes my heart happy.  Here are some of posts about the Jersey Shore.  2012  2011  2011 #2 I am not sure this wil work, but this is a link to my facebook album from Lilly's trip to Aunt Cathy's house.  Let me know in the comments if it doesn't!

August 2012, Normandy Beach


Leading up to and through the storm I was able to follow what was going on through my local message board MaplewoodOnline.  Now it is a source of hope and resources as we were without power and for gas and food.  (I used my phone.)  I am immensely proud of my hometowns of Maplewood and South Orange.  Local businesses have been donating food, coffee, warmth, electricity to charge phones  and perhaps most importantly, community.  My salon was washing the hair of people who had no electricity (ergo, hot water) free of charge.  The owner of the local deli (my old neighbor) has stated that people who are hungry but have no money just need to ask for him and he would take care of them.  The local churches have opened their doors for warmth and food.

Janice and Lilly 
Jane's beautiful house
I have stayed many days with my friend Jane in Normandy Beach at her beach bungalow, which she then rebuilt into her full time residence.  I am not sure how Jane's house is.  Her area, in particular, was hit severely.   I also spent time with my friend Janice at her beautiful house, only a few blocks from Jane's, in Mantoloking.  She and her husband retired last year from my school district.  On Tuesday she posted on Facebook that the Hoboken Little League field house cafe was open and serving food.  And her beautiful shore house....gone.  It was one of the houses that exploded because the gas lines were not turned off right away.  In the midst of her own personal tragedy, she was helping others.  
The view from the bay, by Janice's house.
If you don't know, I am a teacher in Hoboken.  Hoboken was completely flooded during this storm due to the storm surge.  It is still drying out.  School is closed through Tuesday, hoping to open by Wednesday.  There are many residents, including  some students and co-workers who have lost everything.  Our school buildings have been turned into shelters.  The train station was under water.  I don't think I could get there if I tried, right now.  
The streets of Hoboken


As for me and my family, we got out of the storm with power outages, a fridge full of spoiled food, and trouble getting gas.  My father-in-law met us on the highway with a can of gas.  We coasted on fumes into a gas station in Pennsylvania.  We have been staying with my in-laws in the Poconos so that we can avoid the choas of my area.  Stores are without food; gas lines are 3-4 hours long; tempers are flaring.  We are going home today.  Vin starts his new job tomorrow.  I have to figure out how I will get to work on Wednesday.  But my power is back and I can buy new food.  We will be fine.  

As for the Jersey Shore, I am not sure what is going to happen.  My whole state is a mess right now...power still out in many places, gas rationing, curfews.  I am not going to post pictures of the destruction.  If you want to see them, go here or here.  I spoke (via text) to my Godfather who is a minister at a church down near Long Beach Island.  His church King of Kings has opened their doors as a shelter.  I asked him if I could bring him donations of clothes, etc.  He said right now the emotional giving is happening, but the real needs will show in the next few weeks.  Peoples' lives were forever changed by this event.  But I know that we are not only strong, we are Jersey Strong!!

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