Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: The Worst and Best Sides

Casino Pier Seaside, NJ. Rollercoaster in background now in ocean

No power, fuel shortages, limited transportation, lack of shelter and heat has made life almost impossible to bear. My heart and prayers goes out to the victims and their families of Hurricane Sandy and wishes for a quick recovery and rebuilding to those affected by the devastation. It’s little comfort to say material things can be replaced, lives not, when you’ve lost absolutely everything.

Last night dh and I sat in our favorite local bar/restaurant having dinner and watched the relief concert telethon at NBC studios Rockefeller Center with numerous artists: Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera, Jimmy Fallon, Sting, Steven Tyler and others singing familiar songs while a banner ran with information where people could call or text in to donate toward the relief. or 1-800-733-2767 (1-800-RED-CROSS) Spread the word on Twitter by #SandyHelp.

To donate for Hurricane Sandy disaster relief click Here:

Others involved in the telethon included Matt Lauer, Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Bacon, Tina Fey and Danny DeVito.

We stared at the TV, watching the horrific devastation with tears in our eyes and texted in our donations. In Pennsylvania, we were fortunate. Many are still without power. I can look down the street from the restaurant and see houses that are dark, a traffic light out, trees down. I know of friends who had damage to homes and smashed cars. Kids still aren’t back to school, but this is nothing compared to what has happened in NJ and NY.

Watching the pictures of the Jersey Shore was especially heart breaking because I grew up in New Jersey (Northwest) and spent many summers visiting Seaside Park, Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, Cape May and Wildwood.

As a kid, we camped at Ocean View Campgrounds. We started out in a tent then moved up to a pop-up trailer. At the time, I didn’t know we camped mainly because we couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel. Camping was fun, and I always got a thrill walking over the sand dunes each summer to see the ocean. We’d build drip sand castles from wet sand, body surfed until our fingers were wrinkled, our hair stiff with salt water and our lips turned blue. Our parents made us sit in the sun to warm up until our lips were back to normal color before we could go swimming again. We’d eat half our peanut butter sandwiches and feed the other half to seagulls.
When we got older we rode bicycles on the boardwalk before 10 AM. In my memories, I can still smell the salt air breeze and creosote wood of the boardwalk. At night, we compared our treasure of seashells, played cards, chased lightning bugs, roasted marshmallows and visited the amusement rides on the boardwalk. I loved riding the scary ones with my dad. Like the big rollercoaster you might’ve seen partly submerged in the ocean after the storm.  Electronic games? iPods? Computers? They weren’t invented yet.

As a teenager, I’d get up at 5 AM and drive down to the shore with friends to beat the weekend traffic. We’d get to Seaside before the boardwalk and vendor booths opened. We’d sleep on the beach. Slowly, we’d hear the metal shutters slide open on the individual booths, and the click-click of the game wheels, smell the onions and peppers cooking. A huge slice of pizza and frozen custard on a cone was the treat of the day. And is still my favorite. I held hands with a boyfriend on the scary rides, who later became my husband and later again my ex-husband. Still good memories.

The Jersey Shore will never be the same, but it will be rebuilt. Jersey folk are tough and good-hearted people.

The Best and Worst of Mankind Emerges in Disasters


I’ve heard from friends in NJ how tempers are flaring. People can’t get gas, and some are stealing gas from cars. Without gas people can’t get to work. Relief efforts don’t seem fast enough. Swat teams have to step in to keep things from getting out of control. But after living through Hurricane Andrew in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1992, I know the best of mankind also emerges. I’ve been hearing of random acts of kindness:

Here in PA, a grocery store offered to replace food items up to a dollar amount if you lost food. A local hairdresser offered free shampoo and blow drying for those without hot water. Barnes and Noble in Bethlehem set up extra power strips in their cafĂ© so people could come in and charge phones, computers, etc. While a few neighbors helped us with a tree that had fallen in our yard, a utility vehicle stopped and the guy asked if we were doing okay. I’m sure he'd been working some long hours. Power cords were stretched across my street where neighbors with power were sharing with those without. Our neighbor was plugged into our outside outlet.

I’ve read where people were giving away pizza in NYC, a doctor was giving free medical care, a Tweet from @TheDutchNYC offered free soup and salad, someone with a jetski was rescuing people in Fairfield, NJ, people with power offered charging stations, not to mentions the endless hours rescue workers, police, firemen and utility crews and many other workers were putting in insane hours to help.

There’s a Hurricane Sandy Acts of Kindness Facebook Page:

Please share any random acts of kindness that you heard about.

At the Friday night telethon concert, Jon Stewart ended with the words, "Jersey strong, man. Keep your heart in it.''

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