I've been without power since Sandy swept through NJ the beginning of this week. At times, as I sat with a transmitter radio and a flashlight, I thought that perhaps I was better off not being able to see images of the havoc wreaked by the storm. I wrote this on my iPad:
"It's still difficult to imagine what I will see when my TV does work. I'm not sure I'm even ready to look. I know that the scenes from the Jersey shore of my childhood will, no matter what it looks like now, remain in my heart and memory. Ice cream shops in Spring Lake, feeding ducks by the pond. Walking the boardwalk in Wildwood and riding the rides at Seaside. My parents had their honeymoon in Atlantic City. My grandmother worked at grand old hotels along the shore. Family pictures, torn and tattered, grainy and now even more precious in their fragility."
Hearing my beloved Jersey shore described as being redefined, looking like a battle zone and watching the death toll rise from the tri state area left me saddened and angry. I wrote:
"It will be different when we rebuild. We will rebuild. There is no New Jersey without the shore. Unlike the show, the real Jersey shore is for those of us who work hard and cherish our time down there when we can get away. We are proud of its natural beauty and family atmosphere. We enjoy watching our kids go on rides, play at concession stands, eat a custard, play in the sand, and run through the waves laughing."
Yes, we all hurt here in New Jersey. Our damages will run deeper than any building materials can fix. Let's pray for those who lost loved ones and friends, for those who lost homes and cars, for those trying to sleep in dark cold houses, who may feel abandoned and alone. Let's roll up our sleeves and reach out to those with immediate needs - open our homes to those who still have no power or food, share our resources. Donate clothes or time. Send the Red Cross an amount we can afford.* For those in NJ, let's make sure we show our gratitude to the many volunteers working so hard to bring back power, open our roads, get fuel to us and food. Many are still doing without and need our help.
Please keep those of us whose hearts feel broken in your thoughts and prayers. Then sit back and watch as we rebuild. Visit us. Enjoy our shore with us. We will know who you are when we see that familiar look in your eye that we natives know so well - the joy of being with friends and family down the shore, creating memories for the next generation, which are in the end priceless.
* You can donate at www.redcross.org. / mail a check to: the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243,
Washington, D.C., 20013 / call 1-800-RED-CROSS or
give up to $10 by texting the word "REDCROSS" to 90999.