Jersey Strong

Sandy Hook bridge
We live in the armpit of the armpit and sometimes get flack from fellow Jerseyans for our choice of residence. It's not the wealthiest of Jersey's counties, and we may not have the absolutely best school system.  But we're five minutes from the fishing beaches of Raritan Bay and just a few miles down the road from the pearl of the bayshore where A. & I enjoy spending time on the pier.  We are fortunate to have survived Superstorm Sandy.  Only had to endure a few days without power and heat.  We have family close enough and inland that we were able to spend a night at their home where they had a generator and working fireplace. A. & I might have continued to camp out at home, except with a newborn we were concerned about keeping N. warm. 

Morgan Marina
Whether it's channel NJ-12 or the NJ.com website, devastating images of familiar year-round shore spots like Keyport, Manasquan, and Sandy Hook leave me spooked, and concerns about my hometown Jersey City's recovery flood me.  Bayshore towns such as Laurence Harbor and Union Beach have been hit hard, and their residents are not those with the million-dollar oceanfront homes.  Our community borders these neighborhoods with working class histories in clamming and fisheries.  A.'s fishing piers have been wiped out, and my bayside boardwalk which stretches three plus miles is crumbled.  I watch the news and see fellow Jerseyans weeping at the loss of their homes, their hearts -- their personal belongings muddied and thrown out for the next trash pickup.  Surprisingly not paralyzed, they express their distress and somehow muster up the courage to believe that Sandy will make them stronger because they have survived her rage.

For a couple of nights, A., N., & I remained at home with hand-cranked radio, LED flashlights, batteries, candles, and our duffle bag full of emergency stocked food (rice, beans, crackers, bread, peanut butter, and jelly). We were the lucky ones.  No water flooded our home as we are above sea level.  We kept N. wrapped up in several layers of blankets and made sure to keep her cozy with our body warmth.  Thank goodness for Neosure formula in powdered form.  We expected a power outage, but not more than a day's worth.  We weren't sure if we could take a hot shower with the loss of electricity.  Figured out we could, and the hot water didn't run out.  We were only 60 percent prepared.  Having to face the decision about whether or not to leave our home in case circumstances worsened was difficult and has made us rethink our emergency precautions in the midst of (natural) disasters.  

Not sure what next spring will look like down the shore.  We look forward to the Jersey shore's comeback.  Superstorm Sandy certainly tested our survival skills, but she didn't break us.  And she won't crush our fellow Jerseyans. Because we are JERSEY STRONG.

Thank you to our friends and family who stayed in touch with us during the hurricane.  Peace, love & light.