Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sandy Sadness...

The second biggy that was going on in our lives and hearts over the last week or so...Hurricane Sandy. I am a Jersey girl...well, actually a NYC girl and Jersey girl all wrapped up into one. I spent the first half of my childhood growing up in NYC and the second half living in the suburbs of the city in Northern NJ.

My summers as a child were spent on Long Island, NY and then later, once we moved to NJ, on the Jersey Shore. Since our oldest was about 3, we have been spending a week each summer at the Shore on Long Beach Island. Beach Haven, our town, is my happy place. Our week there each year is our Christmas gift from my mom to my sisters and our families. All of our children (and us) live for this week. We are all relaxed and my mom is in her element. Others, might be confused - it isn't the most beautiful or glamorous place - but it is our happy place and nothing is like our time there or all the memories we share from our weeks together there.

I have spent so much time over the last two weeks watching youtube videos, googling photos of the hurricane and the damage at the shore. My heart breaks and the tears fall. Long Beach Island, like so many other places along the NJ (and NY) coast was completely underwater. To see the photos of all that has been lost and the damage and destruction - well, it has rocked me. Not sure we will even be able to go back next year. The photo at the top of our blog (at the time of this writing) is taken on the front porch of our rental home. Even that porch is our happy place.

My heart breaks for the families who have lost lives, homes, belongings, security in NJ and NY. My prayers are for their safety, restoration, and strength as they face the cleanup, the rebuilding, and the changes. Lord, please bless the people of the shore.

As we arrive to the island every summer, we all wait to be greeted by the LBI shack. It is a little shack 
(was originally a duck hunting club or something from way back in the 1920's). Over the years it has been many things and has been deserted for quite some time. When we started going to the beach there, it had a roof. Every year it gets more and more run down. Each year, John jokes that it's our beach house...and each year we all cheer when we see it.

The shack is the subject of many photographs and paintings found on the island. It is sort of a symbol. A symbol that you have arrived...that you can let out a long relaxing breath - that the long drive to the beach is over (it's quite a trip from Virginia with 6 noisy kids, just sayin'). It symbolizes vacation and family time and all the hopes the start of vacation holds. This summer as we passed it I took the picture above. I think it's the first time I ever took a picture of it. It is along the highway road that takes you onto the island. It sits in a field by the bay - alone, next to a billboard (which sits to the right, but not in the photo).

When the news starting coming out about the flooding, of course we worried for the wonderful beach houses, the amusement park that we visit each year on the island, our beach house and all our regular haunts. But my thoughts turned to the shack as well. Would it make it. There were actually people tweeting about the chances of the shack's ability to survive. There were reports throughout the weeks that it was still standing, that it was battered but still there.

By the end of last week, the final word on the shack's condition surfaced. It broke my heart.

It is gone.

 Rest in peace little shack. I'm gonna miss you...

I am grateful that my parents are doing well after the storm. Tho' they don't live at the Jersey shore, they still live in Northern NJ - they have only just today (nearly 2 weeks later) gotten their power back. They describe my hometown as a disaster zone - trees and power lines down everywhere. Streets undriveable, no heat, no power, no phone, no internet.  They stuck it out - they are very strong, independent, spunky 80 year olds (sorry mom, just trying to make a point here). They slept by their gas fireplace, wore gloves and sweaters, and got by for the first week. By the second week, they relented to staying in a hotel. They are glad to be back in their home, with power and heat. But their town will be cleaning up for a long time to come (and they live about an hour inland from the shore). Lord, please bless the people of New Jersey.

How to help :   Donate to the Red Cross

Website about the LBI Shack including a short documentary link


likeschocolate said...

So sorry for your families loss! Glad your parents weren't hurt!

Julie said...

Thank you - but in actuality, we didn't lose anything compared to others, just inconvenience for my parents, and the loss of parts of my happy place. So sad for the others who are going to be cleaning up their homes and lives for some time to come. Thanks for reading!

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