Sandy made landfall in New Jersey in my area around 7pm Monday night. We were as prepared as we were gonna be. Now we just had to sit back and wait until the storm passed.
By midday Monday, there were already reports of flooding and evacuations in surrounding areas. People we know and care about were being asked to leave their homes, not knowing what, if anything they would be coming home to. We watched on the news as the water creeped higher and further into land at the Jersey Shore, knowing deep down inside, the landscapes we knew as children and parents ourselves would be drastically changed by morning. We were powerless against it. Never in recorded history had there been a storm of this strength. And it had New Jersey in its sights.
We lost power around 9pm. Much later than many. Once the power was gone and it was silent, all you could focus on was the sound of the wind and how it shook the house. Because of our elevation, we could see far into the horizon. The wind was coming from behind us, so we were still able to stand out on the balcony. We watched blue, green and purple flashes across the sky as transformers blew. We watched as a piece of loose gutter flapped against the building across from us. We saw pieces of metal sheathing flying by. We went to bed hoping and praying we would all be okay.
Tuesday morning was quiet. I was almost afraid to look out the window. What would be out there? Surprisingly enough, our complex looked relatively untouched. The tree in front of our old apartment was down, there were branches and shingles everywhere. But all in all, we made it through okay.
Fortunately, we have an older gas stove. So, I boiled some water to make coffee as we began calling family and checking FaceBook for news and photos. The first item on my hurricane preparation list was instant coffee. Until I realized that I could boil water. I am also fortunate to have a Mr. Coffee and not some fancy coffee maker. I was able to boil water and pour it through the coffee maker. Excellent!!! We made our coffee and as we stared out the window, we saw the maintenance crew come and begin to cut apart the fallen tree.
We spent a good portion of the day taking turns charging our phones in the car and monitoring Facebook. I was sad. Very, very sad. The images I saw of the Jersey Shore broke my heart. They saw an unthinkable amount of damage. Some places, places you knew well, were unrecognizable. Many homes and businesses were a total loss. The last time I saw destruction like this was watching footage after Hurricane Katrina. Only, this was here, in New Jersey. The places I knew and loved, gone.
A few hours later, I received a call I was hoping to not get. My parents own a boat down near the shore. While it had already been pulled from the water, that posed its own set of challenges. My parents lost the boat. Unfortunately, the storm surge was so high, that the water lifted the boat off its cinder blocks and carried it, along with others all of the way through the marina to the main offices and deposited them in a pile. A pile of boats, on land. Hearing those words made me sick. My eyes welled up with tears and I went outside and cried. I didn’t cry because of the material boat, which isn’t even mine. It was then that I realized what Sandy took from us, from all of us in Jersey, in the material things it destroyed.
Movin’ On Up was my father’s happiness, his joy. It was something he enjoyed and there was nothing better for him than to have his family there with him. A family that has grown since we got the boat. In that time, my parents have gained 2 more children (son in law and daughter in law) and 2 grandsons. I have never seen my dad happier than when his family was all together at the boat. Most times we didn’t even go out on it. We sat around the picnic table in the marina behind the boat and ate and talked. And for all of us, that was great.
While I haven’t seen too many pictures of the damage done to Long Beach Island, I am pretty sure the island sustained quite a bit of damage. My family spent a lot of time there when I was a kid. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, we would all rent a huge house 3rd in from the beach every August for 2 weeks. I loved it there. Some of my greatest childhood memories where there. But mostly, my grandmother was here. Did Sandy take those memories with her too?
Then there’s the Jersey Shore. The shore is what makes New Jersey, New Jersey. If you have never been to the Jersey Shore, please don’t think what you see on TV is “the Jersey shore”. It is far from it and only a small piece of all of the great things about the shore. Many of us have memories of the shore engrained in us. Summers spent with family, weekends spent with friends, prom weekend and even the times that Chris and i have taken Brandon to Point Pleasant. It's all gone now. I really don't know what to say about it. It's sad and it sucks. But I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I have not taken these photos. They have been floating around Facebook.
Driftwood Beach Club
I'm sure there are many more and for those that have been able to see the news, I'm sure you have seen worse.
Please pray for the families who have lost their homes and their businesses. Please donate, if you can. Every last little bit helps. The residents of New Jersey own these beaches and we have all made memories there. Let's band together and rebuild what has made us who we are. It will never be the same, but it can be better and we can all start making more memories.