Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy, Frankenstorm, whatever you want to call it. When we hear any of them, a feeling comes over all of us that only those that have been through such devastation can truly understand.
This is my own Sandy Story.
When Sandy made landfall on October 29, we didn’t really know what to expect. Was it going to be as bad as predicted? It turns out that it was worse. We figured that high winds meant downed trees and power lines, heavy rain meant flooding, and that some people would lose power, maybe for a day, possibly two. That’s what Hurricane Irene did when it hit a year prior.
That night we watched the news reports (until the power went out). The sound of the wind outside made me think we were going to wake up in Oz the next morning. (How cool would that have been?) We listened to tree branches hitting the roof one after another. Saw the flashes of green in the sky when a generator would blow. Heard two loud crashes from down the street but when we looked out the window, the visibility was zero. We kept assuring my daughter that we were ok, that it was just a bad storm. In reality, I had to keep assuring myself of the same thing. For safety, we spent the night in our basement until the storm began to subside.
The morning of October 30, my husband and I walked outside. There were branches everywhere. Two of our neighbors had trees fall and cut through their garages (which were the loud crashes we heard during the storm). Half of our street had power, half didn’t. A few sections of our next door neighbor’s fence were ripped out of the ground. We stood outside with all of our neighbors just looking around at what the storm had done to our immediate home, as we had no knowledge yet of the effects it had elsewhere. Standing there looking around I noticed two others things, the clear sky and the absolute silence. We live a block away from one of the main roads in Toms River, so there’s always the sound of vehicles nearby. This morning, there was nothing. We all made a plan of attack on what needed to be done and everyone helped each other out with the clean-up. Some of us didn’t know each other’s names until that day, but we came together as neighbors to help everyone get their homes put back together.
At one point I went back into the house for a break and checked my computer. The pictures that were flooding Facebook and the footage on the news was something I couldn’t then and still cannot put into words. Seeing footage of the barrier island, the boardwalk and beaches where I had spent most of my childhood, torn to shreds. The famous Jet Star roller coasterwas sticking out of the Atlantic Ocean but refusing to be knocked down entirely as if to say to Sandy, “Is that all you got?” (This has now become one of the most infamous symbols of post-Sandy recovery efforts.) The flooding and damage everywhere was like nothing I had ever seen before.
I know I am not the only person to have felt like this because the recovery efforts started immediately. Six months later they are still on going. Every week something new is going on where “the proceeds will go toward Sandy recovery”. Be it donations of funds, food, clothing or time, the community has come together to help out in a big way. Full recovery is a long ways away, but at the same time we have come a long way. I know that we will continue to do so because this is our home and we are proud of it!
We are Jersey Strong!
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog. This post is part of a series we are hosting:Six Months From Sandy. If you have a story to share-please contact us.