Watching the devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to so many people in the Northeastern US was heartbreaking. I experienced dozens of hurricanes while growing up on the Jersey Shore – but nothing like this!
I escaped from the cold New Jersey winters back in 1970 and have since mostly lived in Southern California where no one near sea level has a snow shovel. I would not trade Lynn’s and my life here at Rancho Wamhas near San Diego for anything! Yet, I was born and raised in Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore. Boy do I have memories of those wonderful ocean front miles. The experiences they gave me from the time I can remember remembering will stay with me forever.
Learning to swim in the Monte Carlo Pool, ride my second hand bike, and drive a car—these all took place at the shore. As did my first “real” kiss (not telling who), graduating from high school, attending and graduating from Monmouth University, working as a life guard with Stu at the Breakwater Beach Club in Elberon, hitting the “big time” to working as a life guard on the Belmar beach with Joel & Joe, and meeting up with David at midnight (or later) for a hot dog at Sid’s in Bradley Beach all took place at or within a mile of the Atlantic.
My family all worked at the wholesale produce business my uncles and cousins owned. For that matter, everyone in the family worked there in the summer. Five families relied on this business for an income to house, feed, educate and generally live on. All income made between July 4th and Labor Day was the profit for the year. All the rest of the days worked were just to cover the operating costs. Now, the wholesale businesses that supplied all those grocery stores, markets, and restaurants along the shore are mostly gone – they hardly have any customers left.
Sandy may have torn away the boardwalks and many of the buildings along the coast; but my memories of those happy days can never be torn away. If you never had a Jersey Shore pizza, a hot sub sandwich, fresh squeezed lemonade, or a grilled sausage & pepper & onion sandwich on the boards – you ain’t tasted nuttin.
Yes, Sandy wreaked havoc. But I can “feel” as I watch the interviews on TV and listen to my relatives and friends who still live at the Jersey Shore that these folks are determined, in the midst their sorrow, to rebuild their lives and businesses. I’m betting on them!