Hello all. It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy getting settled into my new job, taking care of the pupster, spending time with my husband, and beginning my training for the half marathon in the spring.
For those of you that don’t know, I am a New Jersey native. I grew up in a town in North Jersey and still have family that live near the Jersey Shore and way too many friends in the NJ/NYC area to count. Luckily, everyone I know is safe. Some still don’t have power, some can’t get gas, most can’t go to work, but everyone I know is staying strong and trying to be patient while things get back to normal.
I grew up going to the shore. Ship Bottom in Long Beach Island was our spot. Whenever we take a trip to visit my family in south Jersey, we still take time to go over to the island. It’s the site of the original Ron Jon Surf Shop, it’s where my cousins and I played for hours together, it’s where I surfed for the first time, it’s where my sister and I drew pictures on shells and sold them from a little table outside of the house we rented and dubbed it “Shell World” just to use the money to buy something at the CVS on the corner…
Now the island is simply… a mess. The coverage is absolutely heartbreaking for me to watch, but I can’t look away. I cannot even fathom what those that lost everything are feeling, because I can barely control my own emotions thinking about how a huge part of my childhood pretty much just washed away. I know they will rebuild, I know the island will be back in business eventually, but it won’t be the same. The hardest part is seeing images not only of the Jersey shore, but also of northern NJ and NYC and knowing how many friends I have there and feeling like I can’t help them the way I want to help them. It is hard for me to swallow. Donating money does not feel like enough when some of my friends still don’t have power or hot water and haven’t complained one bit about it. There is one particular friend that has shown nothing but maturity and composure throughout all of their posted updates on the situation. I know a lot of people that could take a lesson and gain some perspective from this person and how they’ve handled this situation. (If you’re reading this, you know who you are because I have been commenting on almost all of your posts.. and I’m glad snuggling with your puppy tonight is helping you feel better.)
Jersey is my home state and will always be my home state. I am proud to be from New Jersey. I know it’s more than oil refineries, wannabe-Jersey TV stars, bleach blonde hair and fake tans. In fact, that is very little of what New Jersey is about. It has a pride that is incomparable to the other 3 states I’ve lived in. Its spirit isn’t based off of a major sports team or a religion or anything like that – it’s simply from the people that live there and their love of the state. I know that both NJ and the surrounding areas in NY will bounce back – they’ve already proven that from 9/11. But for now, for me, Thanksgiving feels extra important this year. Taking the time to reflect on all of the things I have in my life, especially things like my great memories with my family at LBI, will be even more on my mind.
Oh.. and for those of you that always looked for “The Shack” off the causeway while driving onto the island, it’s been reported by the police that it has finally met its match. This too is an important memory to me. Not only was it a sign we’d reached the island, but my uncle once lived there (way before it was so run down, of course!) so we were always sure to report to him that it was still standing.
P.S. Comments on how people shouldn’t live on islands, along the coast, in houses on stilts, and other things of that nature are not welcome here. Get over yourselves – this destruction was not the fault of anyone that chose to live the “shore” life they wanted.