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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Greetings, from what used to be New Jersey - in the dark

No fancy graphics today.  Frankly – I’m surprised I was crafty enough to get this from my computer with no internet connection, to my phone, to my blog page.  After a total now of 7 days without power, I’ve learned that my iPhone, indeed does supply a hot spot and I’ve had time to figure it out.  This was written on Tuesday, our first full day without power…There will be several entries so here is today’s unedited blog...

I type this in the dark, by the glow of my wood burning stove.

We’ve been without power here since Monday night – not terribly awful yet, since it’s only Tuesday.  Although terribly cut off from the world, with the exception of random 3g connections - I consider myself and my family to be incredibly lucky.

I love New Jersey.  Yes, it’s true at one time I did have an escape from New Jersey plan, but I was young and dumb and didn’t know any better.  My heart breaks to see “her” so terribly torn and tattered.

This is obviously my first hundred year disaster.  I know, I know – it’s hard to tell, but I’m not quite there yet.  I’ve never, in my lifetime, seen such destruction to areas that I’ve grown up loving.

For people like me, and most of my fellow Jersey brothers & sisters – we spent our summers going down the shore.  Not to the beach, DOWN THE SHORE.  Get it right!

If I close my eyes, I can rewind my brain to the smell as soon as you go over the Driscoll Bridge.  Sea air.  Salt water.  Boardwalk smells of sausage & peppers, cotton candy and saltwater taffy.

From the time I learned to walk, my parents took me to Seaside Heights to enjoy the beach and the rides.  Neither exists any longer.  No more sausage and pepper sandwiches from “the big lemon” a.k.a. The Midway, in the center of the boardwalk.  The boardwalk is gone.

As a twenty something I spent my summers in Point Pleasant often frequenting Martel’s Tiki Bar…GONE.

Nights at the Surf Club at Ortley Beach.  Gone.

As I type this, I tear up.

If you’re fellow Jersey, even transplanted Jersey – you get this.  All of it!  The heartbreak of a place so near and dear - lost.  I know my beautiful bloggie friend, Snarkfest, will understand, having been a shore kid once upon a time.

I live in the woods now, still in Jersey.  It was a choice I made when my son was growing up.  I grew up in the city and didn’t want the city life for him.  I knew that down the shore was an option, but would rather keep that as a special treat – like it was for me growing up.  I can’t quite describe the anticipation in the heart of a child when you say, “we’re going down the shore.”  I was, once that child – and in many ways, I still am.

I never left Jersey because I could live way north, in the beauty of the woods and still be within three hours of the furthest New Jersey beach.   Nearby, there are beautiful farmlands and the majesty of mountains, lakes, streams, New York City & of course – the ocean.

This choice, as I see now – was a good one in the face of this devastation.
Yes, we are without power, except for the generator that we run 8 hours on and 8 hours off.  I have no running water since we’re water/sewer here and the generator isn’t set up for that yet.  There are trees down, wires down, a neighbor lost her truck – buried under a massive tree that uprooted and just missed her home.  In all these negatives, there are positives.  The reason I chose to move to a community.  The neighbors banded together.

Early yesterday morning after discovering several trees down in our own yard, my daughter and I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to assess Mother Nature’s Fury; seeing the massive tree on Keri’s truck, all the trees in Trish & John’s yard.  Then I saw what Jersey is REALLY all about.  Chris, our neighbor from the other side of the block with no damage to his home, was at another neighbor’s house, who he didn’t even know, with his chain saw cutting away a fallen tree from their driveway.  Just because.

Neighbors taking care of neighbors, because that’s what you do.

That, my friends is REAL Jersey.  Just because we don’t candy coat it, doesn’t mean we’re not sincere.

Forget what you see on "reality" TV!
We may talk a little tough and give it to you straight, but the truth is - Jersey has heart.  Jersey has soul.  Jersey may be down, but she’s not out.

From the woods I send this, not even knowing what’s going on elsewhere.

From the woods I ask that you keep our coastal friends in your thoughts and prayers.

…and then there’s New York City & It’s boroughs, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut – other places whose story I haven’t yet heard yet.  Jersey sends love…Lots of it.

Thank you for reading my blog.

For those who’ve lost their lives, family, property, whatever – I wish you peace.


Please share this with others who may think Jersey is what you see on television...  It's not.  It's all about the love and caring & what we can do for each other... just with a bit of an attitude, followed by a hug.


  1. Awww Jenn. I'm thinking of you! Wish there was more we could do to help. (Which if there is, let us know, k?) I feel your pain as we recovered from the Tuscaloosa Tornadoes in 2011. In April it will be 2 years and it seems like yesterday. There were so many that fared way worse than us, but it still sucked being without power. Luckily, the gas worked so we had hot showers and boiled water for drinking/dishes. But it was no bed of roses. I'm so incredibly glad that you are okay and I'm happy to hear that neighbors are being kind to one another. Makes my heart happy. Hang in there!!

  2. I hope they will have your power restored soon, Jenn. I'm often amazed at what Mother Nature can do, but what she can't seem to touch is our spirit of brotherhood. Whether it's in Jersey where you live or in Joplin (close to where I live), we help each other. We reach out. We get through whatever it is together. I'm so sorry for your and many other's loss of the boardwalk and all the places that hold special memories for you. I hope your state can rebuild and have a place to create new memories.

  3. Beautiful tribute to your home and the people of Jersey. I'm sure this experience has changed you in many ways, but I can't wait till you're back to whatever normal is going to be. You're missed.

  4. This was a beautiful post and you are awesome for taking the time amongst devastation to write it. At the time Hurricane Sandy hit land, my son and I were vacationing in Miami, totally unaffected by this massive storm. Once we settled down and saw the news, I was shocked. I cannot imagine what you and so many others affected are feeling. Such loss. I love to hear how everyone is coming together to help one another. I pray that you all continue to stick together and stay strong through what I'm sure, will be a long healing process

  5. I can't imagine sweetie! I know Ike hit us in the midwest several years back and all the trees down and without power for 4 days was hard enough, but we were lucky enough to have a gas stove to cook and it was September so it wasn't cold yet. I've missed seeing you around! Just stay strong and I'm so glad that you and your family are okay!


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