Thoughts Post-Superstorm Sandy–Part 1

Welcome back to the blog, friends. Wrote this a while back and just haven’t had the time or focus to get it together. Thanksgiving is behind us and I suppose the holiday craziness begins. (Seems like the media took off early with advertising for shoppers too.)

BUT: A short while before October 25, 2012, a wave is said to have risen off the coast of Africa. Meteorologists kept their eyes and computers fixed on its progression into a serious marine disturbance. Before long, a pretty horrid hurricane named Sandy tucked itself inside a nor’easter and hooked up with a full moon around high tide. The 900-or-so-mile-wide-monster took off, without a care or a hoot about the havoc it wreaked on pretty much anything in its path.

Following a windstorm that resulted in a light show where transformers in my area blew one after another–kind of like a domino formation going down–life in my neighborhood went dark. Power was out from Mon-Sat nights, but that was the worst of it for me and mine. (Tons of folks are still waiting.)

My area was then treated to a 4-6-inch dumping of snow ten days after Sandy, closing school a final day and subjecting all the utility workers to cold, wet, freezing conditions as they worked through the storm to restore power. Crazy. So, after an unheard of near two weeks closed, my school district resumed a normal schedule.

Normal. Life has a way of sliding back into its routine. It’s too easy though, to forget that too many others didn’t squeak by so easily. The media, in my area anyway, focuses on the devastation of NYC and NJ’s beloved coast, but Sandy’s wounds and scars-in-progress will stay long beyond the media’s coverage. I keep thinking about the folks in distress we don’t hear about that much (Staten Island, Haiti, Cuba, etc) and even those still recovering from earthquakes, tsunamis, brush fires–need I go on?

Sorry folks. The intro to my thoughts on my most recent awesome read somehow morphed into a follow-up to why the blog went dark for two weeks. Not only did I not have power or real internet access for a week, I couldn’t focus, feeling out of sorts, out of my routine; worrying about food and gas and people who were seriously lacking in hope, post-storm onslaught. When power was restored I wept. Actually, I sobbed.

On a recent Sunday (11/11) hubby wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful day. We got in the car and pointed it shoreward. One of our favorite stops—Sandy Hook—was completely closed off, so I finally got to visit the Twin Lights at Navesink (a very cool historic site). I wound up chatting with a woman I ran into twice on the grounds. Of course we talked about the storm and I mentioned something about Googling images of the flooding in other beach areas.

“Oh, but I don’t have power,” she told me, her voice sweet, calm and matter-of-fact. Turns out she rode out the hurricane at home. Like so many of us, she lost power and finally got nervous enough to evacuate when a pair of Marines (?) showed prior to the impending snowstorm ten days later.

She’d been in that shelter since and shared with me details the media might not think to mention. She was waiting for an inspector to decide if her home needs to be condemned. Her car was totaled due to flooding. Guess she wasn’t able to take her pets to the shelter (cats and beta fish) and is limited financially by how much  she can get to them since a cab ride to her home costs $21 (I’m thinking that’s one way).

Flooding totaled her car and everyone’s in her neighborhood. There are (were?) two hundred people ahead of her for a car rental. A cab to her job—I forgot to ask about what type of work she does and where—is $75. (Again, I’m not sure if that is one way.) Mass transit would be a three-hour trip one way and she’s scheduled to start at 7 AM.

I wanted to keep talking with her, to listen to more of her story. (Had hubby not been waiting for me, I might have hung out longer.) Part of me wanted to ask for her phone number, to follow up on how she made out, but I felt weird doing so. When we took off in our own directions, she gave me a hug. I keep praying for her by name now and find myself getting very emotional as I write this.

From there, we wound up driving through a small, seaside community—The Highlands, I think. I took only this photo; didn’t have the heart to take more. (The community lost 1200 of its 1500 homes to tidal surges as high as seventeen feet.) Most of the small homes near the water had already been gutted and open to air. Like the images we were bombarded with on TV the first week or so, there were trucks parked nearby with supplies (i.e., water, toiletries, cleaning items, etc).

In a small park too, the community had gathered. A band played. Tents had been pitched and tables loaded with food during a Hope for the Highlands fundraiser. Hubby gave to the effort but we just didn’t feel right partaking. We’d not suffered the trauma these folks did. I did, however, feel tremendously inspired by the spirit I felt in that small span of park space.

So what is my point? For the sake of not waxing overlong I’ll end here and pick this up later this week.

Have a great day,

Joanna

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Thoughts Post-Superstorm Sandy–Part 1

  1. I have lived in New Jersey my entire 64 years and thought hurricane Floyd was the end, that it couldn’t get any worse.
    It did.
    My heart goes out to all those who still do not have power or a roof over their heads. If it is selfish of me to want to turn back the clock, to have our boardwalks restored and everybody safe and happy and in their homes, I guess I can live without the boardwalks. Those who lost everything…you have my prayers.
    Floyd was bad.
    Sandy is nearly the end of the world.

    Like

    1. Didn’t think of it that way, Irene, but it sure felt that way, especially (for me) as those transformers went up while trees were whipped around. Boardwalks can and will be rebuilt. ($$ is a key reason, since so much of the Jersey shore economy revolves around boardwalks and the Atlantic, which seriously betrayed us four weeks ago. I’m with you about all those folks still feeling Sandy’s harsh beating.) Thanks for stopping in. Glad you fared okay.

      Like

  2. I struggle to live without power for a several hour stretch. Can’t imagine what you and those who lost their power for even longer periods went through. I don’t blame you for weeping when it came back on. Guess it helps us appreciate all we have and to not complain about the small stuff.

    Like

    1. Losing power was an inconvenience–nothing more. (We’re blessed to have lost it when freezing pipes weren’t a real consideration.) I’m sure it bothered my family a lot more than it did me. I read. AND, I can write even w/o a laptop if I need or want to. If nothing else, the power outage showed me just how ridiculously much we’ve come to depend on all things electric and electronic.

      Like

Comments are closed.