|The curious and stunned came to remember...|
My sister Betty had spent the last few days working social media sites asking for much needed clothing and food items that we could collect at a designated spot and transport to a coastal drop off site. The great people of Burlington County, along with Twitter and Facebook friends did not disappoint. Car after car met us on site bringing, canned goods, water, clothing, cereal, even dog food. We packed my big SUV without an inch to spare and headed east to one of Egg Harbor Townships fire departments (a large community on the mainland side of Atlantic City). Once there, we got into a line of cars and trucks that had done the very same thing; appeal to the goodness of their friends and neighbors and headed towards the shore.
|Here lies the Jersey Shore - RIP|
These are not multi-million dollar vacation homes; these are the row homes of casino workers, firemen, bus drivers and school employees...and most of the contents of their first floors were out on the curb saturated with sea water. Carpets, furniture, appliances, the very things that made a house a home on Sunday, rendered it inhabitable on Monday.
Traveling further down the road toward the inlet section, this usually bustling city had no traffic lights…or traffic. The casinos, which had to close because of mandatory evacuations a week before, had reopened hours earlier to the public, but the public wasn’t returning on this day. For a gambling town that has been struggling to hold onto its’ patronage since the opening of competing casinos in neighboring states, a forced week-long shut down, has to be devastating.
We kept going toward the inlet section because this is what I needed to see. A few years back, I worked in neighboring Absecon for a while. When time allowed, I would the take the mile ride on Rt. 30 into AC and have my lunch break up on the inlet boardwalk and sea watch. It was a stressful job and this was my release. This portion of the boardwalk, away from the casinos, restaurants, amusement piers, and upscale shopping malls, belonged to the people. It was where residents went to fish, to walk and socialize. It seemed that everybody knew everybody else. I went often enough that an occasional familiar face would smile and say “hey, what's for lunch today?”
|My former favorite lunch spot.|
"My father and sons fished here almost every Saturday for the past several years" said one woman turning her collar up to ward off the cold wind. "With everything else that's been damaged, this will probably be the last thing they fix." And sadly, she's right. The casino workers, firemen, bus drivers and school employees will have to wait their turn in a very long line.
|Red tag on door - "Uninhabitable"|
On the bay side, are year round residential communities where some homes looked untouched and others lost almost everything. Streets lined with indoor and outdoor furniture made some road impassable.
It goes without saying that the entire New Jersey coastline has forever been altered. It will take much time, money and effort to right the wrong that Sandy has inflicted on us. Some things may never be right again. Seaside Heights where I spent many Saturdays during my teen years, putting quarters down to spin the wheels or eating sausage and pepper sandwiches, is in ruins. It is hard to imagine where to even begin the cleanup.
|President comforts a Brigantine resident.|
Photos by Jo Ann Phelps & ImageGoggle