Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Shore of ruins

With apologies to Springsteen. Who, for the record, I think should have played "Wrecking Ball" during the Sandy benefit concert, instead of "Land of Hope and Dreams," which after all lost a little resonance when it became the MLB postseason theme. Just saying.

We're OK. We shockingly didn't lose power. There were a few moments Monday night, very early Tuesday morning, when it went out and we thought, OK, that's it then, but then it came back on. DH and I sat in front of the TV, tuned to News 12, and listening to the wind whipping around the house and the creaking all around us, and waited for things to get worse but they never really did. Eventually we quit dozing on the couch and went to bed.

The kids slept through it. I have no idea how.

In the morning we still had power and school was closed. (We didn't know, of course, that school would be closed all week. It may or may not be open tomorrow. There is some cabin fever going on.) The house seemed OK. Here is how much we lucked out: Wednesday or Thursday, when we finally ventured outside, we discovered the two huge evergreens on either side of the house had both been uprooted. Completely out of the ground. Both of them fell away from the house. In opposite directions. They're like dead tree bookends.

We kept watching News 12. And hit up Twitter and Facebook. And then we started to see the images from the Shore.

Look, I'm from South Jersey. I grew up on boardwalks. I've been on the rides at Seaside Heights and I've played the cranes in Point Pleasant. I love that little aquarium there. I've admired the pretty beachside houses and hung out at Jenkinson's and eaten my share of funnel cake and boardwalk fries fresh out of the fryer, which are the best fries in the world.

When I was even younger, and we lived in Monmouth County, we used to go to Keansburg. There was a giant undulating slide that you went down sitting on a burlap sack, and there was a rotating helicopter ride where you could make the copters go up and down as they went around. There was a duck game, where you just picked up little plastic ducks as they floated past you and whatever was written on the bottom determined the prize you got.

All of that is wrecked now.

The images of devastation keep horrifying me over and over. I feel terrible for all the people who lost their homes. But the shot that really went right to my heart was seeing the roller coaster at Seaside Heights sitting in the ocean.

We didn't make it down to the beach this summer. It's a long drive now, and I hate sitting in Shore traffic -- like I'm somehow above it because I used to live 20 minutes away. Plus we have a pool nearby. But I wish we'd tried. Because I really liked bringing my kids to the places I used to love. I liked watching them on the beach and trying to win them stuffed animals in the arcades, the way my father did for me. I liked watching them shriek with pleasure on the kiddie rides. And I don't think we'll be able to do that again. Not for a long time, if ever.

Things might get better. But they won't be the same.

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