Tag Archives: destruction

Through a Shattered Looking Glass

I grew up on the Jersey Shore. Memories of my childhood are ensconced there, on the beach of Ocean Grove, in the quiet lull of the Manasquan inlet, speeding down Rankin Road in Brielle on my bicycle and hoping to stop before smashing into a giant oak.

Girl Scouts, the local park, soccer, softball, piano lessons, Perkins instead of Halloween, church, camping trips, the Pine Barrens, Englishtown. Bagels, pizza, the roar of the ocean every day during the summer after Cream Cheese & Grape Jelly Sandwiches whilst watching The Prices Is Right at my grandmother’s house. The smell of coffee mixed with Entenmann’s topped off with the wafting odor of printer’s ink. So many memories crammed into such a short amount of time.

As with all memories, there are good and bad.

Bullying, incessant teasing from classmates because I didn’t live in a mansion. My parents drove sensible vehicles, okay, sensible vehicles which may or may not have had rusted floor boards. (I really miss the green & white Dodge Ramcharger with the rusted “viewfinders” along the back seat floor board!)

Death. I lost count of how many relatives crossed to the other side during my childhood. I lost both grandmothers by the time I was a freshman in High School. My first grandmother passed away on a Thanksgiving. Before she passed, she told me to “Be the best you can be. Always.” Perhaps she didn’t use those exact words, I was 11 and had more important things on my mind, but that’s always stuck with me.

We moved away from New Jersey when I was 12, almost 13. Truth be told, I was happy to be moving away. A new start. No teasing or bullying. Finally. I could be me.

But then I kind of missed it. You see, our house in Jersey was on a dead end street. I got along with the other kids on our street. We played outside, a lot. I was also the only girl. I played Cops & Robbers, tackle football, baseball, Olympics, random games of street-hockey, etc. Life was good on the street, just not at school.

The house in Virginia was in the middle of nowhere. Our nearest neighbors were 6 feet underground – yes, a cemetery. Quite a change from suburbia for a kid who was used to going out and playing with the neighborhood kids.

I romanticized my time in New Jersey as I grew older. Particularly in college after losing my grandfathers. Any time spent with my paternal grandparents was in Jersey for the most part. I clung to those memories. Their houses, the way they smelled, my grandmother’s elegant clothes she let me wear to play dress up, my grandmother’s amazing cooking, and my grandfather’s massive pines lining his pristine black asphalt driveway up to his green and white Cape-Cod style house.

In my head, my memories are trapped in a snow-globe, just beyond a looking glass. Perfect, happy, and never-ending –like old movies stuck on repeat in a theatre.

And then…..


(I’m crying now.)


Not only am I aware of the massive destruction she left in her path, I survived the massive storm myself as it passed over Pennsylvania, where I now call home.

I meant to go home to Ocean Grove, to Brielle, to Point Pleasant – to eat at Vic’s in Bradley Beach again – to visit friends and family still residing there– before Sandy.

I’m still going but it won’t be the same.

The looking glass is shattered and so am I.

I keep telling myself Sandy didn’t destroy the memories I hold so near and dear in my head and heart – nothing can do that unless I allow it to do so.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m lucky. Our townhouse is still standing, our power was only out for nearly 4 days, and we didn’t have to wait for FEMA or the government to help us. No gas rationing here. I’m grateful.

Grateful but shaken.

Shaken because all the mourning, all the grieving, everything, has come undone within just a few short weeks and I don’t know how to fix it just yet. I’m shocked and bewildered to have been affected this way. It’s as if Sandy pulled a string on the bag holding all these memories and now I have to catch them but they’re growing as fast as a group of Tribbles. Every time I think I have things under control again, something else pops up. What’s worse is that I’m not sure how to put this into words – not yet. I realize I am but when it actually happens, I struggle to convey how I am feeling because I don’t know.

I don’t feel as if I have a right to feel the way I do when so many who still live on the Shore and in NYC are facing so much more loss than I am as a result of Sandy’s vicious attack. I know trauma is in the eye of the beholder. I know. I’m striving to give myself permission for my emotional reaction –once I achieve that part, the rest will be all downhill, just like cruising down Rankin with the wind in my face when I was a young girl.

As the Jersey Shore rebuilds –and I know they will because we Jersey folks are a strong breed — I will be rebuilding my memories and working to remind myself no one can ever take them away from me. I will give myself permission to mourn the change and the loss of this tremendous storm. I will continue to move forward and persevere.

I am Jersey Strong.

AP News Alert – First Ever Indoor Hurricane strikes Home in Rural GA.

Rural GA, sometime last night – Odd Weather has struck again. This time, it struck inside a home. For the first time ever, an indoor hurricane is strongly suspected for the damage. Hurricane AlliChar is being blamed for a horrific trail of destruction.

The hurricane seemed to have started immediately outside the children’s bedroom, continued into the kitchen where it opened drawers, appliances, and even pulled items from packaging. The Hurricane then took a sharp left turn through the back door and appeared to have done the largest amount of damage in the bathroom, tossing magazines, toys, and other various sundries about.

Residents are in quite a state of shock but do plan to rebuild with a tremendous increase in property protection planned as a large part of their rebuilding efforts. An estimate of damage was not immediately available.

Funny thing is that I read at One Step Ahead’s website just yesterday day if your child is over 30in tall and 30 lbs, ditch the gate and be extra vigilant. Apparently “THEY” have NEVER met my kids.

I admit, I overslept this morning and did not get out of bed until shortly after eight. First mistake.

Second mistake – thinking the door alarm would be a deterrent. It was not. The beginning of the trail

In fact, we awoke to the biggest trail of toddler destruction we’ve ever seen. Someone alert FEMA. We need federal aid. I think there would have been less of a mess if a tornado or hurricane had ripped through.

Our two year old was in the floor blissfully shoveling Neopolitan Ice cream into her mouth with her hands. (Our four year old had gotten it out of the freezer by standing on a stool) Oh yeah, and most everything else that looked “cool and fun” was out of the freezer too – those long ice pops you can  buy in the huge box, fudge pops, italian ice bowls, yeah…. all in the floor. (I managed to recover the italian ice bowls – they hadn’t opened them yet – and the freezer pops, well, they’re impenatrable so they’re back in the freezer as well. The ice cream was an unfortunate victim as were the fudge pops.)

Our four year old was still digging through the freezer and had the refrigerator door open as well. The pantry door (which DOES have a latch on it) was open, a brand new box of cereal, a jug of juice, and the syrup had been removed. And the destruction continues

They had also gotten into the drawer container on the VERY top of a VERY TALL white shelf we have – removed one of the drawers, spilled grits everywhere and the rest of the packages – country gravy mix, roasted potato seasoning, onion ring coating, etc – were scattered about quite randomly.

A pink inkpad had also been wrought free from one of the drawers – they left a trail of little pink fingerprints all over the kitchen.

And no, I’m not even close to being finished.

It continues, Oh yes it does.

The trail led to the bathroom. They had gotten the hair clippers down (at least they didn’t figure out how to plug them in or we might have two very bald little girls right now)

There was poop on TOP of the toilet lid. Yes, on TOP. (and yes, I laughed when I saw this – I mean, seriously. On TOP???)

And it endsMagazines were strewn everywhere – my Nair strips were all over the place – again, imagine how funny THAT would have been! Two toddlers with Nair wax strips stuck to them… I’m giggling just thinking about the possibility!

Toilet paper had been intertwined with the mess – not much, just enough to make one frustrated. As if everything else hadn’t already gotten to us. Oh, and Chris’ tool box has been dragged in there as well. Thankfully we didn’t find anything IN the toilet as that has been known to happen.

Some sort of white powder – probably a gravy mix of some sort had been spilled in the bathroom right outside the shower. Chris commented about stepping out of the shower into the gravy mix and I retorted, “Well honey, that’s what you call INSTANT BREAKFAST!”

His response? “Yuck.”

The excuse we got for all of this mess? ?

“But Mommy, we just couldn’t be patient for breakfast anymore. We were hungry!”

(Nevermind the fact that we don’t usually EAT breakfast until about 830a every morning)


My final comment about all of this?

Thank GOD both Chris and I have the blessed ability to laugh at even the worst things. Because if we couldn’t – well, we both probably would have had several heart attacks by now.