I am taking a small moment and and making a slight detour from the normal post topics I usually write about to write about Hurricane Sandy. I lived in one of the areas hit by Sandy, but luckily I was far enough inland that I and my family did not feel any major affects I lost power for a few hours. I had some family who were without power for a few days, or even without cable. All in all pretty mild in the grand scheme of things, esp since some areas were completely decimated.
Over the summer I did post up some pictures and posts about my time spent at the beach, or what in my region affectionately calls “the shore”. The time I spent at the shore was spent at a house my family shares in Long Beach Island (LBI), New Jersey. The house has been in my family for 4 generations and is not only a real treasure, but a place full of so many rich memories. I really grew up there, from in utero to now as an adult with my own kids. When I am at the family shore house I can feel all my stress melt as time stands still.
So as I and the kids were hunkered down in our place in the City, I felt safe, but as I watched the storm coverage I really feared for the family home at the shore. Part of me hoped for the best, the other part worried how much would be lost. I found a few fan pages on Facebook that were geared towards tourist information for LBI or for hurricane coverage. Soon after I found photo after photo taken before, during, and even after Sandy rolled over LBI. What I saw from residents who stayed behind to weather the storm was scary.
It took a few days, but eventually I saw more and more of the area on LBI that my family’s home was located in; scanning for any signs that the house was still there. The following picture was as close as I came to how bad the flooding was in the town where the family’s house was, but still no idea if the surge was strong enough to rip our house from its foundation.
The picture was taken of the bay area that our family home also faces, maybe about a block south. Our house has been through several hurricanes, and came out each time unscathed with little to no damage. After I saw this picture, I started to wonder that if out house was still there, how bad the damage would be. I kept searching and scanning any social media source for any visual of our street the family house was located on.
I kept finding more and more photos and video of areas near our house and it was just so stunning to see that much flooding. (Side note, I really want to credit all those that took these pictures, but I found these copies circulated on Facebook by friends and I have no idea who the sources all are.)
And then, there it was, in the closing clip of a CBS news story. The clip was amazing, it perfectly summed up everything LBI was to all the generations of families that enjoyed it. A quiet little hide-away for the middle class. Families came, bought summer homes, and they stayed, passing the homes on to each generation. Only more recently LBI was being slowly bought out by developers and the upper class, but there are still several families like my own who held onto that little piece of heaven, like a priceless heirloom.
The end of that news clip left some hope…
The house is still standing! You don’t know how good it felt to see in that clip, to know that a part of my family’s history survived this monster of a storm. Yes, the house no doubt has damages from flooding (as evident in some of the other photos I found), but all that can easily be fixed.
As I continued to watch more and more of the post-Sandy coverage I began to realize how lucky we were. Not only in damage but our family house was nothing more than an “extra” item that we shared. Even if we had lost the family house, it was just a possession, and one that was a luxury at that. No one in my family was at the house in LBI at the time the storm hit, all were safe on our homes else ware. The house may have a rich sentimental value to us all, but it’s only a possession that many others are not as fortunate to have. Losing it would only be losing memories. I always valued having a beach house in the family, I knew there are many people who can’t afford such a treasure. However, there are many people who do live at the shore, it is their only home, and even their livelihood. As I watched the coverage of the damage I also saw many people who lost much more than just memories, they lost their homes and/or businesses.
I do know LBI and all the shore points will bounce back from Sandy, they always do. Since this was a big storm, its going to take lots of time to heal and replenish all that was lost.
I don’t usually ask my readers for much, other than following my blog, maybe sharing my posts with your friends and/or followers, but I do have one little favor to ask. If at all possible, I ask please to give to the Hurricane Disaster Relief efforts. I know there are probably several organizations to choose from, but given the volume of people displaced my heart goes out to the Red Cross, and I hope my readers would join me in making a donation. My family has been impacted on such a small scale compared to some families who literally lost the only homes they had.
So Please, click this link below, and help pay it forward.
A friend of the family stopped by the family house and took a few exterior shots for us. Looks like we might have had about 3-4 feet of water get inside the first floor. You can see the water levels on the front of the house, one may have been from flooding at the surge peak (upper line) and the second was probably after the high tide subsided (lower level). The second picture is a marking of where the water was relative to the first level, from the floor level up the wall. If you look close the railing is about 4 feet high.
I found out today that Google.org has some pretty clear before and post-Sandy imagery available and I could not resist making a few comparison shots. You can see sand and mud everywhere, a boat in our yard shifted (shocked its still there), and possibly some random debris entered the yard too.
Got word that residents are able to enter the island tomorrow for damage assessments. Maybe I’ll have some interior shots to show soon.