Keep Calm and Stay Jersey Strong

By Meghan Kremp on November 7, 2012

 

“Only three more weeks,” I said to myself while checking the countdown on my phone as I walked out of class last Monday morning. Three more weeks and I would be on a plane ride to the beach, boardwalk, Jersey Shore, or as I like to call it… home.

That weekend I had heard countless news stories about the upcoming “Frankenstorm” that was expected to center right on my hometown. However I thought the media was hyping the story up. I called my mom that day, as I always do, and asked how she and my dad were preparing for the big storm. As usual they just pulled in the awnings on the house and threw any extraneous items from outside into our tiny garage. They, too, had no idea what was coming.

The storm was expected to hit that night, so I made sure I kept in contact with my parents just to be on the safe side. Being 13 hours away from my home that was supposed to be hit by a major hurricane did not sit well in my stomach. As the storm grew fiercer, I could hear the nervousness in my parents’ voices, though the only details I could get out of  them came in the  response of “everything is fine!”

Nervous myself, I called a few friends that I knew were at home and they narrated the reality of the storm for me.  One friend told me that the sky was a consistent shade of turquoise, even though it was 11 at night, due to all the transformers blowing up.  Another friend said that the sound of the wind was so terrifying that she was too afraid to fall asleep lest she wake up without a roof over her head.  With these pieces of information, I did not sleep a wink the entire night.  I woke up noticeably tired, while my roommate looked extremely well rested. I contacted my parents early the next morning to assess the damages.  All the power was out in the neighborhoods, though I was not surprised at that. Concerned with their own house and the neighborhood, my parents couldn’t give me any input on how Hurricane Sandy affected my entire town.  But as soon as I hung up the phone, I saw that my Facebook and Twitter feeds were permeated with photos of the aftermath of the hurricane.  In shock, I quickly turned on the news.

What I saw next brought me to tears. Photos of my town and neighboring towns were all over the national news pages. The boardwalk that I grew up on was completely decimated as well as it’s beaches. The picture that really haunted me was the photo of the beach that I have gone to since I was four. And what saddened me the most is that it took me several minutes to figure out where it was. It was completely transformed, as the dunes were gone and only a few feet of sand was the barrier between the once covered rock and the huge expanse of sea.

It was hard to focus on anything that day, as my eyes were glued to the news. The vast flooding that my town experienced was devastating.  In one friends house, the water had risen so high that her family had to swim to a neighboring home for safety. All of her belongings were lost.  My family was lucky in that our house experienced no flooding.

As the days went on, I tried my hardest to show support for my little Jersey town as best I could do from South Carolina. I re-posted relief efforts over Facebook as well as bought several t-shirts from a local surf and skate company donating the proceeds  directly to the effort of rebuilding the Jersey Shore.

It was extremely difficult being so far away from a town that I had been born and raised in when it needed help the most.  It touched my heart to see the postings of “Jersey Strong” on almost every friend and family’s Facebook status as well as some support from my college.

Overall the hardest battle that I have had to fight since the hurricane hit is the fact that the town that I left three months ago would not be the same town I would return to. However, that got me thinking: Everything that was lost was of material nature. These things could be replaced, as a human life could not.  I was so blessed to not have lost any loved ones in the tragedy.

Now I am even more excited to go back to my hometown for Thanksgiving break than I was before. I want to volunteer as much as possible and help my already strong community become stronger.

 

 

Hello everyone! My name is Meghan and I am currently a freshman at Clemson University in South Carolina. I'm an english major who loves good books and interesting people. Feel free to contact me via email, Twitter, or Facebook!

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