Surviving Sandy: The Aftermath

Monday, November 5th, 2012
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

Remains of the Sea Girt boardwalk

Rumor has it the “Jersey Shore” cast will reunite for a fundraiser to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. Their efforts will certainly be appreciated. In the meantime, residents up and down the coast of the Garden State are coping heroically in the aftermath of the deadly storm. Our hearts go out to our staff, customers, friends and families that have been impacted by this devastating storm.

With our offices a mile from the beach, we are luckier than most. The building is without power but dry. In another of the random acts of kindness that have become commonplace over the last week, a business has lent us the use of a conference room until power is restored. In the blocks that surround us, residents’ belongings are strewn over the neighborhood — appliances and Christmas ornaments and Communion dresses blasted from homes by Sandy’s tsunami-like deadly forces of wind and water.

Many homes have been destroyed; thousands are homeless. Generators are humming in backyards. There is still so much to do. There have been and will continue to be amazing stories: of trees crashing through roofs or narrowly missing them; of boats lifted from marina cradles and deposited a half a mile from shore where they perch tipsily in driveways and on railroad tracks. Of dramatic rescues, and of volunteers cranking out thousands of dinners on hastily rigged generators and strings of borrowed gas grills. Of strangers showing up with offers to help.

A friend stopped by last night to inquire about the availability of an unoccupied home in our neighborhood. She and her daughter are homeless, great chunks of her waterfront home having been ripped from their moors sometime between last Monday night and Tuesday. Still in a self-described fog, she marveled at the water’s ingenuity: how it managed to fill refrigerator compartments and dresser drawers, even pocketbooks hung from door handles. She will have to saw open a waterlogged night table that Sandy has swollen shut to access the precious papers and letters she always kept close. In a one-story home, she did not have the luxury of moving things to an upper level for safekeeping.

There are signs of life: utility trucks with Ohio and Alabama license plates, pockets of power resuming a half a mile away; a “hurricane bride” on our own staff who relocated her reception in the space of three hours when Sandy shuttered the couple’s original site.

In the wake of such unimagined devastation, there are the usual blessings: the relatively few lives lost, neighbors opening hearts and homes to the displaced, the buoyancy of a seaside community determined to rebuild.

This is the real Jersey Shore, not Snookie’s version.

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